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I'm volunteering as a CASA (court-appointed special advocate) to… 
9th-Jan-2009 05:29 pm

I'm volunteering as a CASA (court-appointed special advocate) to help abused/neglected kids and write reports about what is going on for the courts, and I have to pick which case to take on. I can't talk about it here, so I won't. I just am having a hard time deciding which one. Some of the cases involve sexual abuse, and I don't know if I could handle that without it bothering me, for my first case. I also want to be able to help the parents if at all possible get in a better situation in their lives even if they don't get their kids back in the end, so I don't want to pick a case when I might have trouble putting my own feelings aside. I think it will be a challenge enough just learning the ropes. I didn't grow up in foster care, so it's hard for me to imagine what it would be like for a child. Does anyone have any suggestions or experiences with this? I'm pretty shy, so I know it will take me a couple months to get used to talking with the people involved. I would appreciate any input at all, especially if you had to deal with DHS/CPS in your life when you were young or grew up in foster care. I'm not part of CPS, but a separate volunteer, but I imagine I will be treated about the same.
10th-Jan-2009 06:03 am (UTC)
Thanks for putting this behind a cut - talking about court and abused children can definitely trigger. So thanks!

I was in DSS (Massachusetts' version of CPS) when I was a teenager. It was really, really rough because it felt like NO ONE cared. I think what would have helped me most through that whole thing was just one person who looked me in the eye and really cared about how I was doing before they did their jobs. It would have made everything so much less terrifying and cold. Just someone with compassion who cared about what I had to say would have meant the world.
10th-Jan-2009 08:14 am (UTC)
Thanks so much for your comment. I know this probably is off topic, but I really wanted input. I feel like my life has changed a lot in the past year or two, so that I think I could really help others instead of just trying to survive my own life. I want to be that person that you talk about, who really cares and gives their best to help the situation. CPS has so many cases they can't deal with it personally, but a CASA only takes one case, so I will be more familiar with everyone involved. I'm nervous, but at the same time I really want to help, and I know I have the skills to do so.
10th-Jan-2009 10:58 pm (UTC)
Not off-topic - it's relevant to your life as a survivor, and you're looking to help other survivors, so looking for extra input. Every single person in CPS-type services who genuinely cares is a step in the right direction. You can and will make a big difference. In my dealings with DSS, there was one person who genuinely cared, and I can still remember her face. She was a part of the process for about two days, but I still remember her because that's all I wanted. I wish there could have been more people like her, and you, in that system.
11th-Jan-2009 06:22 am (UTC)
I don't have any experience with DHS/CPS (DYFS in NJ), but I wanted to say that what you're doing is amazing, and I can relate to what you're saying about where you are in life with your own recovery.

Good luck with your case.
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