This acronym means a child is adjudged a "Child in Need of Services." I am a Volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate for these children (CASA).
Because some parents are missing
Wounded, addicted, overwhelmed, violent and cannot be trusted
Their children are placed under the protection of the Courts
The arena of children at risk is often messy and discouraging
However my heart is invaded by the little ones assigned to me, it never fails
I visit, bring presents, listen, observe: "Hi, how are you?"
"How's it going in school?"
"So you need a pair of shoes..."
"You don't have a bicycle? Let's see what we can do......"
Writing reports, taking pictures, I am part of a team
Talented, skilled professionals work for these children
Caseworkers, Counselors, Tutors, Magistrates, Judges and more
Tax dollars well spent
Lives turned around, children given a chance
Some situations don't improve but that's the way of things.
"How can you stand to work with children who are neglected and abused?"
I am asked, "Doesn't it break your heart?"
Yes...but i think, is this situation better because I am involved?
If I can say yes to this then that is enough
Also I confess to a personal reason
During some dark childhood times of my own
I wish I had had an advocate
I can't make everything right
People only change if they want to even when offered lots of support
But I can listen, love, and present to the Judge the wishes
Of children who cannot speak for themselves
I do this because I receive so much back
I do this because I must.
-Paula Payne Hardin
August 6, 2013