Sunday, January 23, 2011

CASA (no, not the house)

My beautiful and smart sister told me about CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) and then two weeks later one of our renters used her CASA supervisor as a reference and I suddenly became really interested it. What's CASA? So glad you asked. :)

When a child is taken by CPS (Child Protective Services) due to abuse or neglect in the home, they are often lost in the system. CPS case workers have on average 50 cases per person. They're overworked and often don't know the details of their cases (how could you?) and dont' know what's truly best for the kid. When you become a CASA, a judge appoints you guardian ad liteum of a child (or several, depending on each case). You, the CASA worker, are representing the child's best interest in court. So the goal is to get to know the child, and his/her therapists, teachers, CPS workers, foster parents, etc. in order to recommend to the court what would be best for the child (i.e stay in the foster home, return home, get special tutoring, medication, healthcare, etc. etc. etc.).

It's kind of a process to become a CASA worker, I am going through a sweeeet organization called Child Advocates in downtown Houston. First there's orientation, then a two week training program, then an interview and finally the swearing in by a judge. I started training yesterday bright and early and it was a good 7 hour day of training. The next week and a half I have training almost every night, but it's so worth it. Yesterday was difficult because of all the horrific information and images they showed us (Basically, be prepared, this is what you're going to be dealing with). A lot of things did not bother me until I had Brennan, now I'm a lot more sensitive to things relating to children. It's pretty saddening and horrific and pisses you off all at oncee. Nauseous, that's the word, I felt nauseous most of the day. (it probably didn't help that I literally started off the day by wiping out in front of the building while daydreaming and walking all at the same time. yep.).

Anywho, I have lots of thought swirling around in this head of mine but I'm going to keep them to myself for now. This week shall be crazy, downtown is definitely a drive away from us. And Jon's got a week of cooking and B watching in front of him, but it'll be good. And now I know there's a slight step to enter the building so really, it can only go up from here.

If your'e interested in becoming a CASA pleeeease email or call, it's hard work, but it's so necessary and rewarding.

Gotta go nurse my hurt knee. ha!



JOHN O said...


Chaeli said...

Is this brother John or Grandpa? I can't tell, ha!!
Here's the link to CASA in Grand Rapids:

And here's the link to other counties CASA programs in MI:

Laine said...

This is going to be an amazing experience, probably both for the good and bad but thats the world right?! I cant wait to hear how God uses you in these kids lives and how he works in yours! We'll be praying for you.

I know that right now I probably wouldnt have time for something like this but maybe one day when all the kids are in school! I'll mention it to some friends from church too!

Katie said...

Good for you, Chae! It's awesome that you're doing this, it sound right up your alley! Good luck with your training this week, and watch your step! Let's catch up on the phone soon!

Chaeli said...

Laine, thanks soo much for the prayers. You are really busy with 4 little kids at this time in your life and that's really awesome. You're right, maybe once they're all in school!

Katie, yes, please, phone date!!

Meaghan said...

Chae, I have been praying for your training and future! Super excited for you and SO proud :D Justice is worth the effort. sounds like you already love it!

jayfersgirl said...

I've heard about this before (after seeing billboards for it in Southern Texas) and just researched it around here a few months ago. Need to research it some more and think on it some more.
Definitely sounds like something that's a perfect fit for you, given your social work background (I'm remembering your major right, yes?:)

Chaeli said...

Cara- impressive! Yep, social work was my major. Time to put my thousands of dollars worth of education to use :)

josh and michele said...

hey chae! after not reading your blog in several months, I'm trying to catch up...I love that you are doing CASA - people like you are much needed for that work! I see child abuse/neglect from a different lens at my job...I'd love to hear about how its going sometime! just sent you a little package in the mail today...thinking about you! love michele