By Callie Langford
Every day of the week that we’re in the courtroom an email goes out to our program staff at CASA of Travis County saying: “I’m with you.”
It comes from many different team members. Sometimes it’s, “I’m here with you,” or, “I’m on the docket with you,” or, for our native Texan staff it might be, “I’m with y’all.”
But it always has the same meaning. One of our Program Managers or experienced team members emails the rest of our program staff to let them know they are there in the courtroom with them for support and guidance as they supervise their volunteers and present best interest recommendations to the Judge. It’s a reassuring and comforting email to receive each day… something pleasant to look forward to because of its consistency.
This “I’m with you” mentality continues well beyond our staff supporting each other in the courtroom. “I’m with you” might be an alternative tagline for the majority of our advocacy for children in the child welfare system, because a CASA volunteer is that person who is there with a child or sibling group throughout their entire Child Protective Services case.
The Honorable Darlene Byrne often describes the CASA volunteer as the person who “shows up.”
The Honorable Darlene Byrne often describes the CASA volunteer as the person who “shows up.” Our volunteers are that consistent, dedicated adult that a kid can count on to be there with them through the toughest moments in their young lives. Someone kids can count on to know who they are, what they need, and what’s in their best interest.
We know that consistency matters, that showing up and being there matters. Children who are dealing with trauma (experienced either before or during their time in the child welfare system) need healthy emotional relationships to help build secure attachments and heal. Former foster youth Josh Shipp talks about the power of every child being just “one caring adult” away from success.
And the children we serve have shared how much it matters to have someone there with them. One of our long-time volunteers, Jack, tells the story of an emotional hearing in which he advocated strongly about where the young man to whom he was appointed should live after the youth experienced a serious loss. In making a ruling based on our recommendation, the Judge told the young man that she didn’t want him to feel alone and he said, “I’m not alone, I have CASA.”
“I’m not alone, I have CASA.”
If you want to be there for kids, to show up, to say, “I’m here with you through the good and the bad,” consider starting 2020 off by becoming a volunteer advocate. CASA is not your typical volunteering, but we’re not looking for typical volunteers. Check out our Volunteer page or RSVP for an upcoming Info Session if you think you might be one of them.
January Recruitment 2020