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Channel 21 Featured CASA of Central Oregon Advocate Training Program
By: Kendall Keenan
Air Date: April 3, 2021
CASA Of Central Oregon: A Voice For Children
BY ANNETTE BENEDETTI
Published on January 20, 2019 in the Bend Nest
This year alone, approximately 500 abused and neglected children in Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties spent time in foster care. Many of them have gone, or will go through, multiple foster placements before the courts determine their final destination. Without a loving parent or family member to speak up for their best interests, their lives are in the hands of individuals who may spend less than an hour or two speaking with them before determining their futures. Fortunately, there are advocates whose sole purpose is to give a voice to children in foster care. They are the court-appointed special advocates of Central Oregon.
In an over-burdened child welfare system, it's easy for a child's needs to be overlooked. CASA of Central Oregon is a nonprofit that supports children as they make their way through the foster care and family court system. The organization's vision is for all children to be safe, treated with dignity and respect and to learn and grow in the home of a loving family. CASA of Central Oregon's Development Director Heather McPherson says, "We work towards our vision by recruiting, training and supporting volunteers who advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in the court system."
Read the rest of the article at the Bend Nest website.
Hurting to Happy: A story of CASA Advocacy
Trenton missed his parents. He didn’t like it when they used drugs, but he still loved them. When he went into foster care, he had to move. Trenton couldn’t focus at his new school.
His little sister Tierra missed her mom and didn’t understand why they didn’t see her very much. Tierra had a lot of ear infections and cried at night with pain.
In the family court system, Trenton and Tierra were just two of hundreds of children to be managed by a DHS case worker and a judge. But Barbara, their Court Appointed Special Advocate, or CASA, knew that these kids were more than just a number. They were unique and special children with specific needs. Without Barbara’s care and advocacy, they could get lost in the system.
Barbara regularly met with everyone in Trenton and Tierra’s lives, including their foster parents, birth parents, and therapists, to give a full report on the children to the court. She advocated for the kids outside of court, attending parent-teacher conferences and enrolling Trenton in after-school activities. When Tierra’s doctor recommended that she get tubes in her ears to treat her chronic ear infections, Barbara followed up with the paperwork to get the procedure approved and scheduled.
While Barbara watched the kids grow and learn, she also saw their mom working to get her life back on track. When their mom left her abusive partner and created a stable home, Barbara recommended to the court that the children should be reunited with their mother.
Not long ago Barbara visited Trenton and Tierra in their new home. Trenton was smiling and doing well in school. Tierra showed off her new room and hadn’t had an ear ache in months. Their mother gave Barbara a hug and thanked her for being there for the kids. Barbara left knowing her advocacy had helped an angry boy and a hurting girl transform into two happy, healthy children.