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).
Listen to INVISIBLE CHILDREN for free (on this site)
Download the Amazon Kindle Version of our Invisible Children Ebook for 2.99 (support KARA)
Support KARA’s effort to stop punishing children; sponsor a conversation in your community (invite me to speak at your conference) / Buy our book or donate Follow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/KidsAtRisk