A Letter From our Executive Director
It’s finally spring, and it felt like it was never going to get here. Long days of weathering crazy storms, chilly mornings of scrapping ice from the car and battling traffic has a way of getting a person down. Frustrated, ready for things to change, anticipating a new start; that’s how I felt these last few months when I looked at the weather forecast. Those feelings reminded me of my personal CASA case. I am not sure if it was timing or my bad attitude about the weather, but the correlation has stuck with me. Like many CASA Volunteers, my case hasn’t gone as planned, and what I had hoped for early on has yet to be realized: a permanent home for the two boys for whom I have grown very fond.
We always ask our CASA Volunteers to commit to 18 months to two years when they are assigned. Knowing that ensuring children are placed in a safe and permanent home as quickly as possible is the priority for the team and the judges, we assume this is a pretty accurate estimate of the time it will take, especially for younger children, to close the case. But what happens, as it has in my personal case, when the months drag on to years, and things are settled and fairly quiet but the children are still in limbo without a permanent placement and the final stamp of “case closed” on their file? For most of our volunteer time there are lots of conversations, meetings, decisions to be made and opinions to share. But sometimes a CASA Volunteer finds themselves in a place when court reports share updates about the kid’s, but no changes in recommendations. We wonder if we are still effective, if we are being true advocates and if we still have a role in the lives of these children. For me, as I move towards my third year of being assigned to these two kids, those questions are answered when we see each other every few weeks. They still make me laugh at their silly jokes, still make me quiz them on math and spelling, still crinkle their noses and the lines between their eyes when I say something particularly “old-ladyish.” But as we play football or read a book at the library, I know that although the goal of adoption hasn’t yet been reached and their case is still open (which, by the way, they are well aware of its status), my role is still important. They say they look forward to our visits, and I think most CASA Volunteers would agree, I definitely still look forward to them, as well. As I anticipate the time when we will no longer see each other, I will be happy that their lives are settled and there is a new normal for them, but like every new start, it will be bittersweet.