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CHILD ADVOCATES of Northeast Oklahoma

Here’s What a Judge Says About CASA

“CASA, in my opinion, is an extremely valuable part of our Children’s Court. CASAs are generally able to see kids they are assigned to more than once per month, often developing a close relationship with the child. In addition, they are focused solely on what is in the best interests of the child. In addition to voicing any concerns about reunification of the family or other permanency, I have often had CASAs point out very important issues the child was having that may have been overlooked by overloaded DHS caseworkers, such as hearing or eye testing or tutoring needs in school. Simply put, I wish that I could appoint a CASA to every deprived child on my docket.”

Associate District Judge Barry Denney, Delaware County District Court

Lives Changed: Youth Stories

CASA Volunteers stand up for the rights of abused and neglected children. Appointed by judges, they ensure that the needs of abused and neglected children are heard – in the community and in the courtroom. Meet some of the young people whose lives were changed by the intervention of a CASA volunteer. Read their stories at: www.casaforchildren.org/stories.

NOTE: Actual names and images of the children we serve are protected. These stories are reflective of the lives changed with the help of CASA Volunteers.

How Can You Help Make a Difference in the Lives of Abused Children?

One way is by becoming a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer and working with children in foster care that have been abused and neglected.

One caring, committed adult is all that is needed to turn things around. CASA volunteers lend their voice to vulnerable children, giving them help and hope.

Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma, a CASA agency, is working to make a difference in the lives of children in our community, but many more volunteers are needed. CASA volunteers served just 42% of the available cases in 2016.

 

To learn more about becoming a CASA volunteer, use this LINK.

A Local Success Story

The following three-part story is true and reflects the devastation to the lives of a child and his mother caused by a father’s use of illegal drugs. (Note: the names in this story have been changed to protect the identities of the family.)

 

The Silent Victims of Drug Abuse

Part I – The Crisis                              

Debbie is the mother of a 3-month-old baby boy. She is going to school and working part-time, trying to make a better life for her young family. She learns that David, the biological father of the child, does not have to work that day in November so she decides to leave her baby, Adam, at home with his father rather than taking him to his grandmother’s. She thinks it would be good for the father and son to have some time together. This decision becomes one she regrets.

Later that day, Debbie receives a telephone call from David telling her that something is wrong with Adam. They rush Adam to the hospital in Tulsa where they spend an anxious night. Unfortunately, Adam is diagnosed with Shaken Baby Syndrome.

Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) is the term used to describe a brain injury in young children (usually under the age of 3) who have been vigorously shaken by the arms, legs, or shoulders. The shaking motion typically results in bleeding inside the head and can cause irreversible brain damage, blindness, cerebral palsy, hearing loss, spinal cord injuries, seizures, learning disabilities, and even death. Debbie and David are told that Adam likely will not make it and that they should start making funeral arrangements.

Once Adam was diagnosed with SBS, the Department of Human Services (DHS) and law enforcement stepped in and the baby was taken into DHS protective custody. Both parents were under suspicion of child abuse. Debbie, who was only 20 years old, did not truly understand what was going on. She shared, “My baby was perfectly fine when I left that morning and that night I was not able to hold him. I couldn’t even touch him. That was the most terrifying moment of my life.”

Use this LINK to continue reading this amazing success story.