At 9:00 pm on a Tuesday night, a new social worker comes to Andy and Jill’s foster home and tells them they have to leave. Right now. Someone has made a report of abuse by a member of their foster family and they have to move.
An hour later they are in an emergency shelter with strangers. They don’t know where their younger brother is. They are terrified. The next morning Frank comes to see them and they run to him. Finally a familiar face.
Frank is their CASA. A trained volunteer, he has been there for them since their mother died. They are still terrified but now they have someone to explain what is going on. Frank talks to the staff at the shelter, he goes and gets some clothes for the kids because they left home with nothing. He reassures them that their little brother is ok.
Over the next several months, Frank spend 10 hours a month meeting with lawyers, social workers and teachers. He makes sure that the kids are getting transported back to their school everyday. He visits Andy and Jill in their new foster home. He consults with their social worker about their new foster placement, a better fit and safe. And Frank is there in court, a year later, smiling as Andy and Jill are officially adopted.
You can be Frank to an abused child. You can be a CASA. CASAs - Court Appointed Special Advocates - come from all walks of life and varied backgrounds. They are the “eyes and ears” of the court, insuring that everyone works together toward finding a safe permanent home for the child. CASA of Philadelphia is proud to serve more than 350 children a year. But more volunteers are needed, at any given time there are more than 5,000 abused and neglected children in the care of social services in Philadelphia alone - more than 22,000 in the state.