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Mon, Sept. 23

CASA for Kids: 'Wendy'

A CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer is needed for 12-year-old "Wendy." Child Protective Services (CPS) removed Wendy from her home because of the mother's history of substance abuse, mental illness, neglect and domestic violence. The father is deceased.

Among the CASA's responsibilities: monitoring Wendy's ongoing progress in her foster home; working with her schoolteachers, to help promote her education; working with Wendy's therapist, to keep abreast of the issues affecting her emotional well-being; assisting CPS in working with the mother to determine whether she would be willing and able to participate in treatment programs that would permit her to resume responsibility for Wendy; working with CPS to determine whether other relatives might be able to be of support to the mother and/or serve as guardians for the girl; attending monthly team meetings with Wendy, her mother and other team members involved in the case; and making recommendations to the judge as to the best long-term placement for this girl. CASA volunteers need to provide information to the court at report and review hearings throughout the life of a case.

At the present time, there is a great need for CASA volunteers willing to work with teenagers, as many volunteers prefer cases involving younger children. If pre-teens, such as Wendy, cannot reunite with a biological parent and no appropriate relatives are available, they often remain as wards of the court until they are 18, at which point, they "age out" of care. CASA volunteers can have a powerful impact in helping such youths become better prepared to eventually be able to live on their own.

If you are interested in becoming a CASA volunteer for this case or a similar one, and making a difference in the life of a child, please contact the CASA office at 928-771-3165.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This child's name has been changed to protect the identities of those involved, and this child is not eligible for adoption at this time.

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