CASA Video: Aurora’s Success Story
Aurora grew up neglected and took care of her younger siblings. She was then separated from her siblings in foster care. Thanks to her CASA Karman and Caseworkers, Aurora and her siblings were reunited and adopted together!
CASA Video: Elizabeth’s Success Story
Elizabeth was born drug exposed and placed in foster care while her mother sought in-patient treatment. Thanks to the guidance of her CASA Mary Ann and the Tarrant County Drug Court Team, Elizabeth was reunited with her mother, who became healthy and found peace in sobriety.
CASA Video: Alyssa’s Success Story
Alyssa was put into foster care at 11, bounced from house to house, but it was organizations like Peace4Kids and her CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer who helped pick her up and put her on a solid path.
CASA Video: CASA Volunteer Shares a Heartwarming Success Story
Dena Zwingle, Volunteer for CASA of San Mateo County, California, shares a heartwarming story about a foster child finding a loving, permanent home.
A Local Success Story
The following three-part story is true and reflects the devastation to the lives of a child and his mother caused by a father’s use of illegal drugs. (Note: the names in this story have been changed to protect the identities of the family.)
The Silent Victims of Drug Abuse
Part I – The Crisis
Debbie is the mother of a 3-month-old baby boy. She is going to school and working part-time, trying to make a better life for her young family. She learns that David, the biological father of the child, does not have to work that day in November so she decides to leave her baby, Adam, at home with his father rather than taking him to his grandmother’s. She thinks it would be good for the father and son to have some time together. This decision becomes one she regrets.
Later that day, Debbie receives a telephone call from David telling her that something is wrong with Adam. They rush Adam to the hospital in Tulsa where they spend an anxious night. Unfortunately, Adam is diagnosed with Shaken Baby Syndrome.
Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) is the term used to describe a brain injury in young children (usually under the age of 3) who have been vigorously shaken by the arms, legs, or shoulders. The shaking motion typically results in bleeding inside the head and can cause irreversible brain damage, blindness, cerebral palsy, hearing loss, spinal cord injuries, seizures, learning disabilities, and even death. Debbie and David are told that Adam likely will not make it and that they should start making funeral arrangements.
Once Adam was diagnosed with SBS, the Department of Human Services (DHS) and law enforcement stepped in and the baby was taken into DHS protective custody. Both parents were under suspicion of child abuse. Debbie, who was only 20 years old, did not truly understand what was going on. She shared, “My baby was perfectly fine when I left that morning and that night I was not able to hold him. I couldn’t even touch him. That was the most terrifying moment of my life.”
Use this LINK to continue reading this amazing success story.
Another Local CASA Success Story
Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma received a call from a Judge about a case that involved two little girls, along with three other siblings. The children had been removed from their mother and her current boyfriend. The two little girls had a biological father living in Arkansas who was being considered for custody of the girls. However, because he lived in another state, OKDHS could not cross state lines to check out his home.
A CASA Volunteer traveled to the biological father’s home in Arkansas to check out the living conditions. She provided pictures of the home as well as descriptions of those living in the home, sleeping arrangements for the girls, clothing the father had ready for the girls, etc. This information was provided to the Judge to help him make a sound decision about what was best for these girls.
Because of the work of this CASA Volunteer, these two little girls are in transition to live with their biological father instead of remaining in foster care! The Judge was very appreciative of the work by the CASA Volunteer and her ability to cross state lines when other parties involved with the case could not.
Lives Changed: Youth Stories
CASA Volunteers stand up for the rights of abused and neglected children. Appointed by judges, they ensure that the needs of abused and neglected children are heard—in the community and in the courtroom. Meet some of the young people whose lives were changed by the intervention of a CASA volunteer. Read their stories at: www.casaforchildren.org/stories.
NOTE: Actual names and images of the children we serve are protected. These stories are reflective of the lives changed with the help of CASA Volunteers.
Here’s What a Judge Says About CASA
“CASA, in my opinion, is an extremely valuable part of our Children’s Court. CASAs are generally able to see kids they are assigned to more than once per month, often developing a close relationship with the child. In addition, they are focused solely on what is in the best interests of the child. In addition to voicing any concerns about reunification of the family or other permanency, I have often had CASAs point out very important issues the child was having that may have been overlooked by overloaded DHS caseworkers, such as hearing or eye testing or tutoring needs in school. Simply put, I wish that I could appoint a CASA to every deprived child on my docket.”
Associate District Judge Barry Denney, Delaware County District Court
2016 CASA Impact on Oklahoma Children
CASA programs in Oklahoma are making a difference in the lives of children across our state. The information presented here reflects the data collected FY2016. The numbers tell part of the story of how CASAs are impacting the lives of these abused and neglected children.
Oklahoma FY2016 Statistics:
- 1,260 CASA volunteers spoke up on behalf of 3,596 abused and neglected children who were wards of the juvenile courts.
- 90,584 contacts were made by by CASA volunteers on 1,071 cases.
- 7,589 independent recommendations regarding services, visitation, placement, etc. were made to the court by CASA volunteers on 1,071 cases.
- 4,472 professional changes were experienced by 1,448 children (professional changes include social workers, attorneys, therapists, and judges).
- CASA was present for 100% of the hearings to which they were appointed (5,258 hearings) and spent more than 45,722 hours working to ensure the best interest of the children were being met.
The bottom line is…children report that their CASA listens to them, really knows them, and cares about them. One child says it well: “She understands what I mean when I say something. She lets me know people love me. She says stuff to cheer me up.”
How Can You Help Make a Difference in the Lives of Abused Children?
One way is by becoming a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) Volunteer and working with children in foster care that have been abused and neglected.
One caring, committed adult is all that is needed to turn things around. CASA volunteers lend their voice to vulnerable children, giving them help and hope.
Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma (CANO), a CASA agency, is working to make a difference in the lives of children in our community, but many more volunteers are needed. CANO served just 42% of the available cases in 2016.