SENT is part of a new weekly series telling stories of people at Pulpit Rock living missionally in their unique contexts. We believe that all of us have been SENT into our neighborhoods, workplaces and city. Our hope is that you are encouraged and inspired to lean into the places God has called you. And then we’d like to tell your story. Because we know that the story of God’s people is the story of God. If you have a story you would like to share with us send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is a CASA advocate?
CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates. A CASA is a person who has been screened and trained by the CASA program and appointed by the court to advocate for children who come into the court system as a result of alleged abuse or neglect. Judges want to know a lot of information about these children so that they can make the best decision that meets that child’s best interests.
There is a large team of people (lawyers, DHS caseworkers, therapists, counselors, judge) who are involved when a child is removed from the parent’s custody. The CASA will interface with these professionals, along with the child, the biological parents, the foster parents, school teachers, school counselors, doctors. The CASA monitors court orders to make sure that the child’s needs (medical, dental, tutoring, ESL, therapy, visitation, educational) are being met. The CASA uses this information to write reports that will help the judge make informed decisions that will be in the child’s best interests.
The advantage of having a CASA assigned to a case is that a CASA generally has one case at a time, whereas these other professionals are usually overwhelmed with multiple cases.
Why did you say yes to becoming a CASA Advocate?
My wife and I were foster parents years ago before the CASA program was available in Colorado Springs. We and our foster children would have benefited from having a CASA advocate. About 6 years ago I was part of the first “Fostering Hope” team at PRC and we were connected with and helped a foster family with two foster children. They needed a CASA. I had heard of CASA before but it was during this time that I went through the training and was assigned my first case.
Are there any stories or experiences that have been particularly memorable?
I continue to be amazed at how many children are in the custody of the Department of Social Services … and to hear of the trauma that so many children have endured. My first case was two brothers who were found sleeping in trash under the stairwell at an apartment complex, while their mother was prostituting in a nearby laundry room. I was involved as a CASA with these two boys for almost two years. One boy had been sexually abused and was not attending school regularly. The boy was placed in a foster home and entered the maze of DHS and the courts. This boy has now been adopted into a Christian home, he has accepted Jesus as his Savior…and though he will have ongoing therapy for the trauma he has experienced, he has a strong loving God and a new family to walk his journey with him.
What is something you have seen or learned about God as you have stepped into the role?
God loves these children who have been hurt, abused, neglected and some times feel discarded. God wants to rescue these children, let them know they are valuable and that He loves them. God also loves the parent(s) who have done bad things to their children. As a CASA we are not suppose to proselytize but it amazes me the way that God shows up and reveals himself.
If someone reading this wanted to get involved, how would they do it?
CASA has regularly scheduled informational meetings at their office here in Colorado Springs at 418 S. Weber, CSC 80903. The phone number is 719-447-9898. I would also be glad to answer any questions that one might have….Bob Waterman at 719-634-8176.
Bob serves weekly on our Hospitality Team. You’ll find him greeting you a smile and a bulletin at the sanctuary doors near the Gathering Place. Stop by and say hello!