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Episode 232: Advocating for Children in Foster Care as CASAs (w/ Travis & Stephanie Johnson)

Decisions made in court hold a lot of weight for the futures of children and families. Due to the impact that decision could potentially have, the role Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) was introduced to ensure all information was being considered.

The role of a CASA before began in 1977. Today, 939 state CASA/GAL organizations operate in 49 states, which serve 242,000 children annually. Travis and Stephanie Johnson are two of the dedicated volunteers who serve the foster care community in their role as CASAs.

In this episode, you’ll hear more about what it means to be a CASA, what the weekly responsibility often looks like, why Travis and Stephanie stepped into this role, and more valuable insights from their experience.

TAKEAWAYS FROM TODAY’S CONVERSATION:

1. Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) are the eyes and ears of the court.

CASAs are trained volunteers who stay with a case until it is closed. They work with all parties involved to ensure that judges have a clear picture of every aspect of a case to help inform the outcome. Specifically, based on the information available in the case, CASAs advocate for the best interest of the child.

“We meet with a child and try to talk with foster parents, doctors, teachers, case workers, and biological parents. We are talking with all these different parties so we can write a court report with all the facts so that we can recommend the best option for that child.”

2. In this role, it’s important to have a heart for children and see past your biases.

Anyone who passes the screening and goes through the full training can serve the foster care community by becoming a CASA. The training will help you overcome your own biases and be equipped to advocate for the child(ren) in the cases you are supporting in.

“You have to have a heart for advocating for children.”

3. As a CASA, you get a unique perspective on the foster care system.

CASAs get a unique perspective as they are privy to nearly every aspect of a case. They get to know children and what they are experiencing. They regularly see those who are overworked or overwhelmed in their roles, and have knowledge of the details of each party’s circumstances, giving them a deep empathy for all parties involved.

“The work that you are putting in is not for nothing. It is so powerful and it can really change a child’s life.”

SPREAD THE WORD!

We hope this episode has helped you wherever you are on your foster care journey. That’s the goal! If so, will you tell others?

Share this post or rate the podcast on Apple Podcasts (or wherever you listen) and leave us a brief review

Meet Our Guests

Travis and Stephanie Johnson are Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). From the beginning of their relationship, they wanted to get involved with the foster care community. Together, Travis and Stephanie are faithfully responding to their God-given desire to serve and impact the lives of children in their community. Stephanie is a stay-at-home mom to their toddler while Travis is a Software Engineer for State Farm.

Foster Parents, check with your agency to see if listening to this podcast will count toward your foster care training hours!

 

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