1. What made you decide to become a CASA?
I was at an interfaith meeting where the group was discussing adoption and fostering from our various faith traditions. One woman talked about being a CASA and had brought her CASA Supervisor, who also spoke. I thought to myself, “I could do that.” I thought I had both the time, the temperament and the gifts to be a CASA, and it was something concrete I could do to make a difference in the life of a child.
2. What is your professional/volunteer background?
I am retired clergy. I am currently active in my congregation and serve on the Board of Stewards and co-chair of a committee that plans and executes an annual Film Festival. At the retirement facility where I live, I am chair of the Wellness Committee. In the past, I have served on the boards of Tarrant Churches Together, Planned Parenthood and Women’s Policy Forum.
3. What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about becoming a CASA?
Realize that it is a major commitment, and don’t do it unless you are willing to follow through. The children you will encounter have already had adults who let them down, so if you tell them you will have lunch with them at school or visit at their placement, then DO IT when you say you will.
What the kids need most from their CASA is caring, consistency, and someone who will go the extra mile to go to bat for them. As a CASA, you will also need to develop relationships with others who are in the children’s lives, i.e. CPS caseworker, foster or kinship placement, attorney at litem, school contacts, psychologists, biological parents, etc. You will also write court reports, which must be in a specified format. You do not do this all alone. Your CASA supervisor will work with you and share the load.
4. What has been the most challenging part of being a CASA?
For me, the most challenging part of being a CASA had been the time management aspect of it. CASA requires certain types of visits monthly, as well as others quarterly. I frequently travel, so I have to plan and schedule my monthly requirements carefully in order have them done in the required time period. Also, I usually have no control over when court dates are scheduled. There have been times when I have been out of town, and my supervisor has covered for me.
It is also challenging to see children in difficult circumstances, many of which I cannot fix.
5. What has been the most rewarding part of being a CASA?
The most rewarding part of being a CASA is my relationship with the children and the hope that my efforts will give them a better chance for a productive life.
6. Is there anything else you would like to add about yourself or your CASA experience?
This has been my first CASA case, and apparently it is a complex one, as it is actually two cases. I have appreciated my relationship with my CASA Supervisor, who has been very responsive to my questions. We have worked together to try to get the best outcome for the children.
“Judy is one of the first advocates that I have had the privilege working beside. She readily agreed to a companion case and has created lasting relationships with each child in which she advocates. She has exhibited strong character as well as compassion throughout her time as one of CASA’s brightest. She has been amazing to work with and defines the partnership that exists between a CASA and a supervisor. She is reliable, always helpful and is a blessing to work with. Thank you so much Judy for speaking up for children that would otherwise risk being silent.”—Casework Supervisor Robert Campbell