One of the best parts of having a local blog is that I get the change to share about things that are important to the Northwest community. I’m thrilled to partner with Comcast today to highlight one particular organization making a difference in the Portland community: CASA for Children.
As many of you know, my husband and I became certified foster parents in 2014 and we’ve had two school-aged children in our care for almost 18 months. It takes a fairly big team of people to move a child’s case along the path to either returning the kids to their parents or finding another permanent home and we’ve been fortunate to have a pretty great group of professionals working with our foster kids and our family.
Even with a strong team of paid professionals (caseworkers, visit supervisors, attorneys, therapists, the judge, etc.), nothing beats having community members who step in to offer support, encouragement, and wise counsel. This is where our kids’ Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) enters the picture.
Mike (not his real name) is our foster children’s volunteer CASA. Mike advocates for the best interests of our kids in the courtroom and in the community. Primarily, his job is to offer the judge the critical information she needs to ensure that our kids’ rights and needs are attended to while they are in foster care.
Mike meets with our foster kids once a month, he talks to all of their teachers, therapists, and doctors, and makes sure the best interests of our kids are being represented from the time they entered care until they land in their forever home. This man works tirelessly to make sure these kids don’t “fall through the cracks” of the state child welfare system — and you know there are some giant cracks in the system. He’s the “squeaky wheel” that makes sure our kids’ needs remain a priority for their caseworker and other workers.
As an example, there was a month-long period last year when our kids’ visits with their mom kept getting cancelled by DHS. After the third cancellation (and several phone calls and emails with various DHS people), I texted Mike asking for back-up. He immediately make the calls that resulted in getting these crucial visits back on track, because when a CASA calls, things tend to start moving :).
The bummer part is that many children in foster care do not have a CASA simply because there are not enough community volunteers. I am in a number of Facebook groups for foster parents and I watch foster parents over and over ask how they can get their child a CASA. These foster parents are desperate for community members (like you and me) to join them in making sure their foster kids’ needs and rights are honored.
There are about 101 ways to support children in the foster care system or in danger of entering it. If you’d like to have a tremendous impact in the lives of vulnerable children in your community, please consider becoming a CASA. (Find a CASA program near you here).
Giant props to Comcast for selecting CASA for Children as one of their community partners. Comcast invests in Portland and its citizens and their financial investment in Portland’s children experiencing abuse and neglect, through CASA for Children, will have a lasting impact in these kids lives and ultimately our entire community. Find out more about how Comcast is investing in the local Portland community here.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Comcast. The opinions and text are all mine.
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