May 02 2018
During our recent Swearing-In Ceremony, The Honorable Darlene Byrne shared her experiences travelling through another state’s court system, and encouraged our CASA volunteers to “bat for the fences” for the kids they serve:
“I recently had the privilege of spending 4 days in Kansas talking about being a trauma-informed court. I learned a lot as I travelled across the state of Kansas. In their CASA program, the volunteers are not named as guardians ad litem (GALs) in the court. CASA is placed somewhere on a shelf.
As I was going through the state and seeing such an economically-ravaged state, I thought, ‘Why don’t you just make CASA volunteers the guardians ad litem and use your lawyers as lawyers?” I never said that out loud but I was thinking it.
I was thinking that I met nothing but salt-of-the-earth, caring people who love kids. I thought why don’t you call upon these wonderful Kansans to step up to the plate to be the GALs for kids, to let them do the work. They do it so well. I’ve watched it year after year.
As CASA volunteers, you bring your wisdom, your courage and your love of family into my courtroom, and I embrace it. I am so thankful for your love for these kids and for you speaking with great courage and conviction about what you think is best for these children. They so need you standing by them, and I am honored to work in that courtroom.
I want you to know that your role is as important as every role in that room. Please speak proudly. Don’t hesitate. CASA is only bound by best interest. Even if I say no, it may not be because I don’t think that your recommendation is best. My decision is based on the totality of the circumstances and the law as it intersects with the facts that we’re dealing with.
You’re batting for the fences, and that’s what I want you to do every day. Don’t be hampered by the legal restrictions or if the price tag is too big. If it’s in best interest, do it. You’d do it for your own children and I want you to be as courageous for these children.”
If you’re ready to take on the role of guardian ad litem for children in need, you can learn more about becoming a CASA volunteer on our website, or attend an upcoming Volunteer Info Session.
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