Each of our CASA volunteers has a unique, powerful story to tell. That’s why they’re the heart of our agency. Every day, we are privileged to see the difference that CASA volunteers and staff make in the lives of abused and neglected children in Jackson County. Here are a few stories we can share:
What happens when foster children are fostered by loving families? They grow up to become foster and adoptive parents themselves! Tricia and Nick, both former foster children, adopted the three brothers they have been fostering. The boys’ CASA Volunteer, retired principal Jim Dunn, was also a foster child, and has also fostered and adopted four children! Jim’s Case Supervisor, Michael Hunt, said Jim was a patient force in this case, which took several unexpected turns. The children’s caseworker, Candie Smarr, from Crittenton, did a good job of stabilizing things for the boys. CASA Staff Attorney, Kelle Gilmore was thrilled to allow Jim to make the recommendation to Judge Torrence, who made this forever family official in December of 2015!
We want to highlight the outstanding work of Hashina Webster who became a CASA volunteer in August of 2010 and who has been the CASA advocate for four sibling groups, 15 children in all. In April 2014, she vouched for this adorable 9-month-old’s adoption by his foster mother, the third adoption she has attended as a CASA. Her Case Supervisor says of Hashina, “She has a fantastic ability to advocate wholeheartedly for her children, while working diligently toward reunification or adoption, depending on the situation and safety concerns.” Thank you, Hashina!
We had a very happy celebration in March with CASA Volunteer Emily Bailey. Her CASA children were adopted by their maternal grandparents after two years in the system. The grandparents live on a farm in Arkansas with lots of animals (goats, bunnies, chickens, dogs, and cats!). Emily and CASA Director of Volunteer Programs Karrie Duke worked long and hard to be sure these children were thriving in their new home, including driving down to Arkansas for a visit. What a happy Spring Day!