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Mon, Feb. 17

CASA For Kids: 'Carrie'

A CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer is needed for 16-year-old "Carrie." Child Protective Services (CPS) removed Carrie from her mother's home because of her substance abuse, history of DUI and general neglect of the teen. For a while, Carrie was living with her father, but he no longer wishes to parent her. Carrie has suffered from depression and, on one occasion, attempted suicide.

Among the CASA's responsibilities: monitoring Carrie's progress in her foster placement; working with her schoolteachers and therapist, to help promote her education and keep abreast of the issues affecting her emotional well-being and treatment for depression; attending monthly team meetings with Carrie, her foster parents, her biological mother and others involved in the case; working with the biological mother to determine if she is willing and able to participate in services (such as substance abuse and parenting programs); and making recommendations to the judge as to the best long-term placement for this teen. CASA volunteers need to provide information to the court at report and review hearings throughout the life of a case.

At the present time, a great need exists for CASA volunteers willing to work with teenagers, as many volunteers prefer cases involving younger children. If teens, such as Carrie, who is already 16 years old, cannot reunite with their biological mother and no other 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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