A note by Arts Engagement Director and
CASA Advocate Zuzka Sabata
CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate and I have been a CASA, supporting children in foster care, for two years now. I remember arguing with my best friend when I was sixteen about whether or not adopting a child is “better” or “worse” than having a biological child, or, a child of your own. I have thought about adopting since early teenhood and the difference between caring for a child of “my own” and caring for any child was lost on me. If this resonates with you, read on.
When a child goes into dependency (is removed from their family of origin due to abuse or neglect), there are few impartial adults who are present with the child throughout that time. Judges, lawyers, and social workers in the family court system have huge caseloads, the children may experience multiple different foster care placements, and their families are focused on repairing their lives so that they may have their child returned to them. A CASA is a stable, caring adult that serves to fill that gap.
The primary work of an advocate is to get to know the child by spending a few hours a week visiting in their home or going out on activities, and to write a report to the court when the child’s case goes up for review, which occurs every 6 months until the child finds a permanent home. These reports often serve as the judges only view of the child as a whole, specific little entity and helps them make decisions that are in the best interest of child.
There are around 350 children in foster care in Humboldt Co. and only 60 to 70 CASA’s to support them in what can be very scary circumstances. I am not quite ready for the commitment of adopting or providing foster care yet, so being a CASA has been a great way for me to continue moving towards fulfilling that wish of mine while maintaining my wild and crazy artist lifestyle! This is something I am very thankful for.
January 11 – February 15: Thursday mornings 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 pm
April 25 – May 30: Wednesday evenings 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 pm
July 30 – August 16: Monday and Thursday evenings 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 pm
October 23 – November 27: Tuesday evenings 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 pm