In the words of a volunteer:
Emma was an adorable and engaging 20-month-old toddler when I was first appointed as her CASA. She had been neglected through her mother’s use of drugs and her father had physically abused her older siblings.
One of the first things I noticed about Emma was that she was non-verbal. On some of our outings, I noticed she did not seem to hear certain things, such as airplanes flying overhead. I wondered how well she could hear. I knew from my training and experience that is was unusual for a child her age not to speak. I made inquiries, but the foster parents did not seem to be concerned and the pediatrician had not noted any concerns at her recent physical exam.
By advocating for Emma, I was able to bring my concerns to her social worker, who arranged for a developmental assessment and an appointment with a hearing specialist. It turned out Emma did indeed have a hearing deficit and required surgery to correct blockages in both ears. She also required speech therapy. I am happy to say that Emma’s surgery brought immediate results and she was able to hear normally. I nearly cried when I visited her right after the surgery and she said my name so clearly for the first time ever! After a couple of years of speech therapy, Emma’s verbal skills were on par with her peers.
If Emma had did not have a CASA to spend time with her every week, I fear it could have taken much longer for her speech and hearing difficulties to be noticed and corrected. Some people ask me why babies need a CASA. CASA volunteers are the voices of children in the foster care system. Who needs a voice more than a child who cannot yet speak?
You can change the trajectory of a child's life by giving that child a precious gift—a little bit of your time.
Become an advocate in our community to help a child who has been removed from their home due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment. It’s worth it… to make a difference in the life of a child.