The difference a CASA advocate can make
For this Carthage family, it gave them the gift of a lifetime.
Having someone in your corner can be invaluable — especially when it feels like no one else has your back.
For thousands of kids across the country, that person is a court-appointed special advocate, and one Carthage family can tell you the level of support these volunteers bring.
“They were just two really scared kids that just walked into our door with a case worker.”
It’s a sight that Elizabeth Carter had seen before. at that point, she’d wanted to be a mother for nearly seven years. in the meantime, they’d decided to do foster care.
“We fostered six different kids in Arkansas,” said Carter, “and then we moved to Texas and we decided we’ll take on siblings. Two at a time.”
Another new element was that the siblings were assigned a court appointed special advocate, or CASA.
“It really opened my eyes because I’d never had foster children with a CASA before,” she said, “because unfortunately there aren’t enough CASA advocates for every single foster care case.”
A national organization with chapters across the united states, casa served more than 275,000 children in 2019 — an impact made by each one of the nearly 100,000 volunteer advocates.
“She’s really responsible for why they even ended up at our house,” Carter said about the advocate for the siblings. “They had been staying at a relatives and the CASA was just checking in to make sure the rules were being followed, that the children were safe, and she caught things that were not being seen by other people and that’s how they ended up moving to our house.”
Over the next nine months, the Carters watched over the children as if they were their own, and that’s exactly what Reese and Rowan became.
“Best thing that’s ever happened to me, that’s an understatement. Best thing that’s ever happened to us.”
Jesse: Do you think you would have your kids without the CASA?
Elizabeth: Nope. No. I don’t know where they’d be.
Elizabeth: Yep, I’m certain of that. Yeah, their CASA advocate was the one that was actually laying eyes on them and seeing what was really going on at their daycare, in their home, all those places. So she was able to follow us through and be at their adoption and got to see it to the end.
Today, all four Carters live in Jasper County, where last year alone, the casa chapter served 149 kids. and one of their volunteer advocates is Elizabeth, who knows as well as anybody the difference someone in her shoes can make.
“To have a CASA advocate speaking for the children but also listening to me and actually doing the work of piecing things together was life changing, and that’s when I knew that if I was ever done fostering, CASA had to be the next step because it really changed the entire course of my children’s life. This one woman, paying attention to them.”
So far in 2021, including rollover from last year, Jasper County CASA has served 139 children.