Glenda is a CASA volunteer serving on her third case. “There is a saying, ‘Be who you needed when you were younger.’ That’s why I advocate,” says Glenda. Like many of our CASA volunteers, she has been a fierce advocate and in this month’s mission moment, we share her story that exemplifies what it means to be a child’s voice in court.
When Kody and Jacob met Glenda, they were in need of a voice. They had been abandoned by their father after years of witnessing his drug use and alcohol use. Caseworkers with the Department of Human place the boys temporarily with their stepmother. After years of warrants and convictions relating to drug charges, refusing to participate in treatment plans to reunite with his children, the boys were fearful his dad would return one day and they would have to live with him. Caseworkers with the Department of Human stepped in and placed the boys temporarily with their stepmother.
As the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer, Glenda was able to observe the bonds between the children and the adults in the home and determine they were placed in a safe environment. She spoke with therapists and school teachers over the course of the case. She took the children to parks, lakes, the library, on picnics, horseback riding and out for ice cream. The children looked forward to these fun outings where they were able to experience the normal joys of childhood with a caring, reliable adult. She kept the Court updated on their progress for the 2 1/2 years she was assigned to their case.
As the case was coming to a close, the judicial team was in agreement to award permanent custody of the children to the stepmom. Kody expressed to Glenda that he wanted to be adopted. He had been in a constant state of fear that if his dad returned and his stepmom had permanent custody, his dad would get custody again. Glenda was Kody’s voice in court. As his CASA volunteer, Glenda advocated in court hearings and through court reports for Kody to officially be adopted. “Glenda stood strong by her convictions and was fearless in advocating for this case. I was proud to work alongside her,” said Linn Bates, the CASA Case Supervisor supporting Glenda.
And although the family grew frustrated with the lengthy process and began to feel like the case would never end, the Court ultimately determined that adoption was in the best interest of the children. The adoption was completed as a direct result of a CASA being assigned to this case and standing strong in her advocacy for the children!
Glenda has served as a CASA volunteer on two cases with a total of five children and is currently advocating for her third CASA case. She says, “The best part of being a CASA is giving a child a voice. I can see the difference I’ve made in the lives of children simply by listening to and advocating for them.”
*Names of the children are changed to protect their identity.