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The Case for CASA

lunch or the movies ~ to the library or the park ~ sometimes even to the dentist or doctor. They spoke with her teachers, lawyers and case workers, to relatives, neighbors and foster care agencies. They persevered, even when she was afraid to trust; even when she was slow to believe that she mattered. “CASA’s pre-service training is excellent and quite extensive. It really helps to guide and sustain a person,” CASA volunteer Bonnie Morro tells me. “But this is vitally important stuff, and what you find is that nothing can totally prepare you for the first time you go out into the field to get personally involved in your first case.” The state’s official machinery of benevolence, as noble as it is, overheats, coughs and sputters beneath the burden of a heavy load. Resources are stretched thin; a social worker has multiple cases, a court-appointed attorney has many clients. Staff personnel come and go as part of the normal turnover of any organization. Things fall through the cracks. CASA alone offers the stable continuity of a

long? The Child Protective Services Unit of the Department of Social Services? The Circuit Court? The local police or sheriff? Charitable foundations? Well, yes, they can all be attached to that hand, but if this child survived the infliction of pain and suffering that is the destroyer of innocent worlds and then, despite it all, somehow grew into a healthy and productive member of society, chances are very good she will tell you the strongest and warmest hand, the hand that she squeezed tightest of all, belonged to her CASA volunteer. It belonged to Bonnie or Bob ~ Alison or Lori ~ Linda, Richard or John because they took the time to know and understand her. They unfailingly stood by her ~ persistently, consistently, ever so patiently. Rain or shine, sleet or snow, they came to see her; they took her to

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April 2016 ttimes web magazine  

Tidewater Times April 2016