“Are you always going to take care of me? If not, where would I live? Would I have to live with strangers?”
These are the heartbreaking questions our 2nd grade daughter asks when we tell her about the children we’re helping by volunteering as child advocates for CASA of Travis County.
She asks, “Why can’t their parents take care of them?” We explain that sometimes their parents are sick, or that they have their own troubles and can’t be safe parents to their kids right now. It’s a hard world for her to comprehend.
Can you imagine what it must be like for the children who actually live every day in this world?
Over the past 13 years, we have worked a combined 10 cases, advocating for 25 children. Some cases we worked together as a couple, others we worked separately but supported each other through the process.
We have witnessed 25 kids’ experiences living in the tumultuous and traumatizing world of abuse and neglect, and the constant upheaval children feel when dealing with Child Protective Services, foster homes, residential treatment centers, attorneys, caseworkers, doctors and therapists.
We know the challenges kids face growing up in this system. We also know the impact that the positive, consistent presence of a CASA volunteer can make in these children’s lives.
That’s why we’re asking you to support CASA of Travis County by donating today. The good news is that your gift will be doubled right now, thanks to a generous family foundation matching all gifts through the end of 2016, up to $300,000!
We’re asking you to help kids like Jenny, whose teen mother couldn’t care for her. This wasn’t a surprise – the teen was in CPS care herself because of her own abusive mom. She didn’t have a good role model to know how to care for her own baby. While the teen was placed in a group home, Jenny went to live with a foster family. Everyone on the case tried to help this teen mother make things work. She truly loved Jenny, but she was overwhelmed by finishing high school and healing from her own abuse. It was clear she was not ready to be a parent.
Throughout this case and others, we work with biological parents to help their kids. We care about what the parents are dealing with in their lives and whether they could possibly have safe reunifications with their children. We look for positive solutions that keep children connected to their family even if reunification doesn’t work out.
Jenny’s mom decided to relinquish her parental rights so that the foster family could adopt and raise her. The adoptive family agreed to remain in contact with Jenny’s mom by sending photos and working on arrangements for the teen to have visits with Jenny. We’re happy to share that they followed through. About two years after the case ended, we ran into the adoptive family. They let us know that Jenny was doing well and that they had just been at one of many visits with Jenny’s biological mom. We are proud to know that the more than a year spent advocating for Jenny’s needs not only led to a safe, loving, permanent adoptive home, but will also keep her connected to her biological family and her heritage.
At the end of every case, our goal is to put children in a place where they can grow up to be mature, healthy, well-adjusted adults who are contributing to the community and, hopefully, won’t repeat the mistakes of their parents when raising their own children.
Volunteers can’t do this alone, though. We need strong training and support from professional staff supervisors, and we need even more volunteers like us. CASA is constantly recruiting and screening new volunteers to keep up with the growing numbers of children entering CPS care each year.
Your donation is crucial to ensuring that CASA can continue to speak up for more than 1,800 children each year who have been abused or neglected. Your donation helps CASA recruit, screen, train, and support over 650 dedicated volunteer advocates. And your donation allows CASA to grow and serve the 700 children who still need a CASA volunteer.
We have the unique privilege of volunteering together as a couple. Whether we’re both working the same case, or supporting each other when we have separate cases, we are able to double the power of our advocacy as a couple.
Thank you for joining us in supporting children who have been abused or neglected.
Melissa Lorber Wade Lorber
CASA Volunteer since 2003 CASA Volunteer since 2007
P.S. We hope you will take this opportunity to donate and have your gift doubled before the end of the year. Don’t miss out on this match!
Advocacy November 2016