“The training went on for about seven weeks and they take it very, very seriously. They want to make sure you’re well-informed and equipped so that you can do this job and do it well. Even before you get into training, they do a lot of screening, you do an interview. They want to make sure that you’re mentally capable and ready to make decisions and know when to act. And when you’re a CASA, a court appointed special advocate for kids, that training is so important.
I went through training about a year ago, and so far, I’ve worked on five cases, and I’m happy to say I’ve had a lot of great success thus far – every child has been placed back with a parent. That’s not to say these cases are easy, though. As an advocate, you’re literally the eyes and ears for the court, the hands and feet. We’re the ones that are asking the hard questions, conducting the interviews, visiting the homes and the children. We’re there to do what’s best for the child and to make sure that they have what they need and are being cared for properly. Is there food in the fridge? Does the child need behavioral help, or speech help? Do the parents understand what is expected of them and what needs need to be met? It’s not an easy task, but it is such an important one. As an advocate, you’ll make an impact on a family’s life, and you WILL make an impact on a child’s life. You might be the only person to tell a child, “This is not your fault, and you didn’t cause this. You are okay. And you can be anything you want to be.”