There are more than 600 Baltimore County children in foster care waiting for a CASA volunteer. And there are more children needing care each passing year. With ongoing economic problems causing additional stress on families resulting in increased reports of abuse, now more than ever, CASA volunteers are needed. That’s why we’re so pleased to report on the newest volunteers recently sworn in as Court Appointed Special Advocates(CASAs), at the Baltimore County Circuit Courthouse on March 12.
The diverse group of volunteers includes grandmothers, fathers, a stay-at-home mother of four, working professionals, retirees and a 21-year-old college student who all completed 30 hours of classroom training and two to three hours of court observation in order to officially be able to advocate for abused or neglected children in foster care.
Our friends at CASA shared the following: “As an advocate with the responsibility of speaking for one child, a CASA volunteer makes sure the child’s voice is heard both by the court and by those charged with providing them daily care,” said Susan Daddio, LCSW-C, executive director for CASA of Baltimore County, Inc.
And some of the newest CASA volunteers have had familiarity with the foster care system.
“After I retired I wanted to do something to give back that I could use my prior career knowledge and that I enjoyed,” said Judith Sweren, a retired courtroom clerk for the Judiciary of Maryland who lives in Reisterstown.
“I have eight kids, three by birth and five by adoption. None of my adopted kids were foster kids first, butI have done foster care through Board of Child Care and respite care for adopted Korean kids in crisis,” said Randallstown resident, Christina Griffin. “My niece was a CASA in Louisiana and recommended I get involved.” ~ from CASA
For most, including James Pettit of Ellicott City, Christy Valeri of Timonium and Lauren Kain of Dundalk, becoming a CASA is their first foray into the foster care system.
“I have been searching for a way to make a tangible difference in an underprivileged child’s life,” said John Kirby, a Catonsville father of three grown children. “CASA seemed like a perfect fit.”
Teresa Fernandez, who sponsors five children in developing countries, shares the same affinity for her work with CASA. “Since I am not in a position to foster a child myself right now, I thought CASA would be the next best way to provide support for a child,” the Perry Hall resident said. ~ from CASA
CASA of Baltimore County is currently seeking dedicated men and women who care about children to become volunteers.
No special experience is required; training and supervision are provided by professional staff.
To learn more about becoming a CASA volunteer, call 410-828-0515, or, visit the Baltimore County CASA website.
Thanks to all the CASA volunteers, for all you do!
More on CASA:
- AA Co. CASA Exec. Director Rebecca Tingle Named Paul Harris Fellow
- 2 honored with decade of volunteering and advocating for children in need
- CASA volunteers raise funds and awareness for abused and neglected youth in Md.
- Helping kids in need, PG Co. CASA volunteers info session
- Former foster child receives award for working with today’s neglected kids
- Mt. Airy volunteer’s Holiday lights benefitting neglected and abused children