I became a CASA shortly after I retired from the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court in March of 2016. I had been a placement officer. The probation officers attended a conference in 2015 regarding the CASA program. My interest in the CASA program was renewed after I retired. I have always been interested in the non-delinquency part of the juvenile court. It is certainly a change from the delinquency cases. I feel that I have more to give to this Court.
I have been a CASA volunteer since May of 2016. I started the CASA training in April of 2016. I have completed my involvement with three families and have started working with another family and have worked with a total of 7 children.
I like to visit with the members of the families and discuss matters that are important to them. Many mothers, at times, feel overwhelmed with the responsibilities of life and the added responsibility of complying with the court orders given to them. I have worked with two mothers that were able to graduate from the Family Drug Court process. I was impressed in seeing the mothers gain so much from graduating from Drug Court. The children also benefited from the court process. Some mothers become involved with the court as a result of an educational neglect filing. Observing the process of mothers taking a renewed interest in making sure that their children attend classes in school is gratifying.
Working with a GAL is interesting in that the GAL and the CASA are working toward the same goal. That goal being assisting families in overcoming any obstacles that prevent the them from realizing their potential. I have communicated with the assigned GAL by telephone and in-person. We generally share information regarding the progress of a family toward complying with the orders given by this Court. We also communicate during those occasions when there is a cause for concern related to matters that may impact the children in a negative manner. We often meet and discuss relevant matters prior to a scheduled court hearing.
I began working at this Court in March of 1985 as a child care worker (detention officer) in the detention center. During 1994, I began working as a surveillance officer in the probation department. I was later promoted to the level of a probation officer. During 2008, I was promoted to the level of a placement officer. I was assigned to visit with youth who were placed by this Court in private residential agencies. I was also assigned to assist each youth in the re-entry process once released from the agency. The 31 years spent working at this Court was gratifying.