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Debbie and C’s Story

Debbie was assigned C’s case a few days after being sworn in as a CASA.

When she first met little C, he was 2 years old and had been taken into care due to abandonment. She recalls the first time she met him at his foster parents’ home:

“Initially, he was very shy with me, but after about 30 minutes of drawing pictures together, I was able to build a rapport with him. He really came out of his shell, smiling and laughing. He gave me a big hug as I left. It really touched my heart.” – Debbie

Debbie recalls that, over time, it was clear from his interactions that little C’s speech wasn’t as developed as it should have been for his age. This was causing him some frustration, as he could not express himself very well, and he was difficult to understand. Through the court, Debbie advocated that little C should receive speech therapy, which was authorized and facilitated through DFCS.

“It was great to see the progress that little C was making every time I met with him. I was so proud of him when he stood up in front of his class at daycare and confidently recited all of his ABCs perfectly.” – Debbie

Debbie soon realized CASA’s important role in advocating and working with DFCS and other professionals to ensure that little C received the services he needed.

“Sometimes it took several phone calls and emails to get things moving forward but the persistence paid off. Ensuring that C’s best interests were met, was my paramount consideration as his CASA.”

“Delays in the proceedings, missed visits by family members, having to meet with several different people was very unsettling for little C. The only constant people in his life were his wonderful foster parents and me, his CASA. Over the three years that I have advocated for little C I have seen him develop into a happy, lively, smart young boy. He has an amazing relationship with his foster parents. He truly inspires me.” – Debbie

Little C’s Foster Parents have always wanted to adopt little C, and this was clearly in his best interests. Debbie advocated for TPR and we were all delighted when the judge granted the order in March of 2017. The adoption process then begin, and we all waited patiently. On August 31, 2017 the day finally came when the Honorable Judge Juliette Scales signed off on the adoption paperwork. Little C had the biggest smile on his face as he has now found his forever home.

“Being a CASA is one of the most rewarding volunteer roles I have had.” – Debbie

“As Debbie’s AC, I must say what a pleasure it has been to support such a passionate CASA as she navigated through the case and advocated for permanency. The story exemplifies what being a CASA is all about.” – Danielle, Advocate Coordinator

Finding a little boy a safe, loving, permanent home

Because of the efforts of a CASA volunteer, Atlanta CASA provided the Juvenile Court with information to permanently place a six-year-old boy with his maternal great grandmother. 

This little boy had been living with his maternal great grandmother since he was 6 months old. His mother had an extensive criminal background and a chronic substance abuse problem and couldn’t care for him. On rare occasions, the father would visit and provide minimal support.

Early on, the biological mother relinquished her parental rights to her grandmother (the child’s great grandmother), who intended to formally adopt him. But unexpectedly, the father petitioned the court for custody as well. 

CASA’s volunteer had always visited the child in the great grandmother’s home. After the father filed for custody, the volunteer began exploring the possibility of the child being placed in his home where he lived with his current wife and newborn child.

After filing for custody, the father was ordered to legitimate the child. He was granted regular visitation, but visits were infrequent, and allegations of molestation surfaced.

The CASA volunteer worked with all interested parties to provide “fact-based” information to the court. In some instances, the CASA was challenged to confirm the father’s address and employment status. 

Ultimately, the information provided by the CASA volunteer supported the child remaining with his great grandmother, who successfully adopted him.

D’s Story

D is a twelve-year-old child who had been in foster care for two years and had failing grades. D’s CASA volunteer worked with his teachers and foster parents to encourage after-school tutoring. After attending the tutoring sessions regularly, D turned his failing grades into straight-As. D was ultimately moved to a High Achievement classroom.

Q’s Story

Q is a 16-year-old boy who had failing grades and frequent school absences. His CASA volunteer worked with Q’s school principal to place him in a program for truant students. The program provided tutoring and monitored Q’s attendance, helping him to improve his grades and pass his final exams. 

“My CASA volunteer has always been supportive. When I needed help finding resources, she was the one person who gave positive suggestions. She made sure the Court knew about the progress I was making to take care of my children. I am thankful that my children have a CASA.”

CASA Parent

“The CASA volunteer assigned to my younger sister had helped me tremendously when I decided to become her guardian. The CASA helped us find furniture and encouraged us when times were difficult. I know the CASA made a difference in reuniting my sister and I.”

a CASA Sibling

“My CASA volunteer inspires me to be a better person. I can tell that he really cares about what happens to me. He has helped me to understand that improving my behavior can strengthen my relationships with other people. I look forward to talking to my CASA.”

a CASA Child

“The CASA assigned to my case didn’t judge me for being a teenage mother. She helped me find options for attending college after leaving foster care and talked with me about motherhood. I hope she’ll always stay in touch with my daughter and I.”

a CASA Child

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