About the legal liability, my CASA supervisors were clear and forceful.

No insurance or legal protection for guardians ad-Litems that allow state wards in their cars, horseback riding, playing miniature golf, or taking them out for  hamburger.  Don’t do it.

It really made you think about the trouble one could get into by being kind to an 7 year old abandoned child that had no mom, no dad, and slept in a group home with a bunch of other terribly abused and neglected children.  Brings tears to my eyes even now, years later.

To me, it was the ten foot pole rule; CASA case children don’t ride in your car, you don’t buy them burgers, play sports with them, or engage in any activity that could possibly result in a problem.

If there is a single monstrous thing wrong with America’s child protection institutions that could be changed easily, powerfully, and forever, it would be to allow and encourage the added love and commitment from each person charged with a child’s care that is capable and willing to provide it.

Forbidding  transportation, hamburgers, and horseback rides is one more ten foot pole to a child that has already been abandoned by mom and everything and everyone familiar to them.  I can’t imagine being that alone (and at 5 or 7 years old).

The little girl I took horse-back riding will never forget the experience.  My days at batting practice with a 10 year old were the best days that boy had ever had.  He is 22 now, has AIDS and is dying.  I have many other stories of fun and easy experiences that were part of my CASA volunteer experience.  CASA could be a great starting point for this experience.

Reflecting on a system that falls way short of helping the 3 million children reported to child protection in this nation each year, I know that it is not the social workers fault that they cannot meet the needs of the children in their caseload.

Social workers are terrifically overburdened and in more and more states they are unable to keep their wards safe from harm (and almost totally unable to provide children with a sense of connectedness or self-worth).

Thank you Florida legislators for recognizing the needs and value of abused and abandoned children.

Please keep up the good work.  You are a shining example to the nation.  

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1 Comment

  1. This is a fantastic website! thank you for passing it on. I in turn, am passing it on to my RAD group.
    I am an adoptive (family) Mom of a son with RAD. He is now 9 yrs old, and when I got him, which was supposed to have been temporary, he was just barely 2 1/2 yrs old.
    When I went to the ‘classes’ for foster care, they were held at the DCYF office building. Since they were held at night time, we all had to ensure we were out by a certain time, as the older foster kids, approx 11 yrs old and up, slept there – in the office on the floor! I was appalled. Prior to returning to the office, these kids were just out, somewhere, waiting to return. After all these years, with many more children added to the rolls, the situation has not changed.

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