Foster Care and Adoption

Month of Prayer, Week 3: For Every Child Welfare Professional

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We’re marking February as a month of prayer (read more about why this is important here). Join us each week as we pray for a different aspect of the child welfare system and our call to care for children and families. You can read last week’s post here.

The foster care system in our city is made up of hundreds of social workers, police officers, court officers, counselors, and other government and service providers. This week, we are praying for those who have chosen to make a career out of caring for children and ensuring they have a safe place to live and thrive. And if you’re one of these people, we are grateful for you and your work!

For this week, we talked to a local DC social worker about the challenges she faces and what she needs from her community. Here’s what she had to say:

“A few weeks ago, I met someone and we we were small talking. He asked my husband and I both what we do and he was happy to chat with my husband about the law. And then he awkwardly turned to me with the oh-too-familiar-sympathetic-head-nod and said,’Wow, I don’t know how do you what you do,’ and asked, ‘How do you do it?’ I paused, truly caught in the depth of the suffering I spend all day wading through, and took a moment before laughing awkwardly and shrugging, unable to come up with anything to say. The guy looked at me again and said, ‘What does social work do to you? My sister has been a social worker for 6 years and she gets that same vacant look in her eye when you ask her about it.’

In the “ReMoved” video, pay attention to the social workers face at 4:16, 5:04. I know that look. The resignation, the punched-in-the-gut, I’m trying not to cry because I have to be strong, but I’ve also built a wall to protect myself so it’s not hurting as much as it will hurt when I’m in the car on the way home.

But I have to do what I do. I have to jump in, I have to fight, I don’t have a choice. As a firefighter runs into the burning building, I dive into the brokenness and hurt of a family ripped apart, of innocence torn away, of the system that is so clogged down and distorted that it does the exact opposite of what it was intended to do. And while I go in willingly, sometimes I get stuck there. The darkness swallows me, I give too much of my heart away, and I am too weary to climb out. My work invades my dreams and steals my sleep. My to-do list grows faster than I can keep up with, and every phone call brings more bad news. And yet, I must press on. I must give a voice to the children and families who are overlooked, forgotten, undeserved.

Being a social worker in DC, the contradictions and contrast of the Capital city are staggering. I gaze at the iconic skyline as I drive to homes without running water. I walk past museums and federal buildings to the hollow halls of the courthouse where lives are mutilated more often than they are healed. I spend the day working with a child whose mother has abandoned her, and who has been in eight foster homes in the past year, and then I go to happy hour where it’s all about who you know and what you do, and the ‘I’m a social worker’ line gets that awkward silence and a quick dodge out of the conversation. Occasionally someone will do that familiar, sympathetic nod and say, ‘Wow, that’s hard work, I could never do it.’ I don’t want sympathy, I don’t want pity or misunderstanding or ignorance. What I want is for these people to understand if they saw the world I did, they would have no choice but to do the work.. And, I don’t need people to remind me how hard the work I do is — I am fully aware of that. I don’t need people to tell me I’m a saint — I know how often I fail my clients. What I do need is someone to smile at me, to encourage me, to not shy away from the hard places and to say, ‘What you’re doing is important and it matters. I’m so glad you’re there, keep up the good work.’ I probably won’t believe it at the time, but it might seep in, and in the cold moments of sleeplessness, or the vulnerable moments of a long run, maybe it would sneak back up on me as a glimmer of hope in the midst of despair.”

This week, will you pray with us for:

  • Social workers and other front-line workers: Pray that they would do their jobs with patience, empathy, and wisdom. Pray that God would help them endure through difficult days, equip them as they face new challenges, and encourage them as they work with families and children who in tough situations.
  • Government employees: Pray that they would work with children’s needs first and foremost in their minds, and that the people of DC would have wisdom in choosing local government leaders. Pray that each government worker would be given the resources needed to protect vulnerable children in our city, and strengthened as they deal with hard situations.
  • Child and Families Services Agency (CFSA): CFSA is the government agency that oversees DC’s foster care system. Pray that each employee there would be moved by compassion for the children and families they serve. Pray for Director Raymond Davidson as he leads CFSA and pray for wisdom as he makes decisions and policies that affect so many. Pray for encouragement and strength for the Deputy Directors, supervisors, assistants, and each employee who makes CFSA run.
  • Service providers and non-profits: There are many private non-profit organizations serving kids and families in DC. These groups range from foster care agencies, to mentor organizations, to advocacy groups. Thank God and pray for each citizen serving DC’s children. Pray that God would sustain them as they not only do the hard work of serving children, but also run organizations and find funding. As these groups address gaps in the foster care system, prayer that they get the resources they need, whether that’s funding or volunteers.
  • Police, EMS, and first responders: Pray that they would work unto the Lord, protecting and helping families and children in crisis, and ensuring that children would get the care they need. Pray for their safety and for wisdom as they make quick decisions in tense situations.

Here are some resources to learn more about how government agencies, social workers, and the church interact:

Listen to Dr. Deb Shropshire talk about her powerful experiences as a pediatrician called to the child welfare system and how she remember’s God’s promise amidst so much brokenness:

Hear from Dr. Sharon Ford on why the government needs the church to cross the aisle, learn about the child welfare system, and serve children in foster care:


Thank you to Megan Roberts for her help with this post!

Month of Prayer, Week 2: Building New Families

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We’re marking February as a month of prayer (read more about why this is important here). Join us each week as we pray for a different aspect of the child welfare system and our call to care for children and families. You can read last week’s post here

When children in foster care aren’t able to return to their family, adoption becomes the new goal. In the US, there are currently 415,000 children living in foster care without the stability of a permanent home. Of those children, over 101,000 are waiting to be adopted, and 32% of them will wait three years or more before they are adopted. Safe and loving foster homes are essential for each child in foster care during their time of transition.

The promise of adoption is central to God’s love for us (Ephesians 1:5). Over and over we are told how much we are loved as children of God adopted into the family of God. We also see verse after verse about God’s call to care for children, for the orphans, for the vulnerable, and we are told that God places the lonely in families. Just as we were lonely and God adopted us into his family, this week will you pray for the children across our country who need to be placed in families?

 This week will you pray with us for:

  • Children who need to be adopted and are unsure of their future: Pray that each child waiting for a stable and permanent home would experience peace and calm. Pray specifically for older youth, who often wait longer for homes, and for children living with disabilities, that they would each find a family that can care for them. Pray that the 552 teens and young adults (53% of all kids in DC foster care) in DC’s foster care system would receive the support, mentors, and families they need.
  • Foster parents who are caring for children for the long term: Pray for sustained encouragement and energy to provide a safe home for children to thrive however long the child is with them. Pray for them as they navigate a complicated system, keep up training hours, and ensure the child is receiving the care he/she needs.
  • Adoptive families: Pray for them as they create bonds with their children. Pray that as a family they would create memories and stories together and become one unit. Pray for wisdom as these parents navigate relationships with the children’s birth families and as they work to meet the specific needs of their children.
  • More adoptive homes: Pray for more homes to hear and listen to call to adopt children from foster care. Pray specifically for more homes to adopt older youth and kids with various needs. Pray for these homes as they go through what can be a difficult licensing process and for them to have patience and support from their community as they start this journey.
  • For Adoption Recruiters: Pray for them as they search for homes for specific children. Pray that the recruiters would divinely meet the right people, attend the right events, and have wisdom as they make potential adoptive matches.

Here are some resources and ways you can be involved:

Watch a powerful 4-minute video from performance poet Shaun Welcome, sharing stories of children in foster care:

FMU – Welcome – Spoken Word Clip from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.

Watch an 8-minute video on why caring for children in foster care is the responsibility of the church:



Thank you to Megan Roberts for her help on this blog!

Month of Prayer, Week 1: Keeping families together

Posted by | Blog, Faith, Foster Care and Adoption, Safe Families for Children, Supporting Families | No Comments

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When a child enters foster care, the first goal is always to reunite them with their families as soon as it’s safe to do so. Reunification is a beautiful portrait of the Gospel (Luke 15:11-32), and mirrors the redemption we receive from God. Unfortunately, only half of all children in the foster system are ever reunited with their families, and a third of those return to foster care within three years. This is why it’s also so important to support struggling families before children are ever removed. Every mom and dad should be able to get the help they need to keep their family together.

This week, will you pray with us for:

  • Children who are struggling:  Pray they experience peace and calm, and know they are loved and are able to establish a sense of stability wherever they are
  • Parents who are working to reunite with their children: Pray for strength in what can be a very long and difficult process, and for them to get access to the resources, encouragement, and support they need
  • Foster parents who are caring for children temporarily: Pray for them as they strengthen the child’s relationship with his/her biological family, and for comfort when that child eventually goes home
  • Social workers and organizations working with parents: Pray for wisdom as they make decisions about next steps and resources, compassion as they encounter difficult situations, and strength as their days are often very long
  • Safe Families for Children and other prevention initiatives: Pray for them to be connected with the families who need their support, and for these initiatives to get the volunteers and financial resources they need

Thank you for praying with us!

Interested in learning more about reunification?

Here are some resources and ways you can be involved:

Watch a 4-minute story from a foster dad on how God taught him the importance of loving a child’s biological family:

And here’s a 7-minute video from the Executive Director the national Safe Families for Children network on why prevention work is so important:



Thank you to Megan Roberts for her help on this blog!

2015 Giving Day: November 12th – We need you!

Posted by | Blog, Foster Care and Adoption, Safe Families for Children, Supporting Families | No Comments

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UPDATE: Because of a few very generous donors, all gifts made towards Giving Day will be matched dollar for dollar up to $10,000! 

Will you give towards Giving Day and ensure we match all $10,000?


Hey DC127 people,

We’ve got a big day coming up – a day where we absolutely, 100% need you: November 12th is our 2015 Giving Day.

Giving Day is one-day online campaign where we’re asking each of you to give what you can towards finding homes for children in foster care and supporting families in crisis.

I want to tell you a quick story about one of those families.

Jackie has two children, and Child and Family Services is worried that Jackie doesn’t have the support she needs to keep her kids safe. She loves her children, and just like any other mother, she wants the best for her son and daughter. As a single mom with two kids, she needs friends and a community to support her. When Jackie was referred to us, one of her biggest needs was a friend she could talk to. We believe this is what the church is good at. And this is what Giving Day on November 12th is all about.

zac and savannah Dc127 pic On November 12th, will you invest in DC127 and create the bridge between Jackie’s family and the church communities that can help her reach her dreams? (Sign up to get a personal reminder here)

These communities can care for Jackie’s kids so she has space, they can listen to Jackie like friends do, and if Jackie’s open to it, they can pray with Jackie. These are the connections you provide when you invest in DC127 on giving day. You’ll be equipping us to reach out to more churches, find more Host Homes, and recruit more people who are willing to walk with parents like Jackie and keep kids out of foster care.

When you give $28, you’re covering the training for the Host Home that will open their doors to Jackie’s kids. When you give $46, you’ve paid for the fliers and materials we need to present to one church and find volunteers to walk with Jackie like friends do.  And when you give $100, you’ve covered the entire intake process where our staff sits down with Jackie to listen to her story and understand her needs, and then connect her with the best volunteer team possible. Dc127 TDC volunteersWhen you give on November 12th, you’re helping create the vital connection between families like Jackie’s and the community she needs to succeed.

On November 12th, we need your support. We are asking you to donate because you share our vision that Washington, DC can be a place where every child has a home and families get the support they need to stay together. We are asking you to donate because you, like us, refuse to let parents like Jackie live in isolation.

Will you give on our November 12th Giving Day and create the bridge between families like Jackie’s and the communities in our churches that will help her thrive?

-Chelsea, DC127 Director

P.S. We’re also having a happy hour on November 12th to celebrate the work everyone in the DC127 movement has accomplished this year. Join us at Shaw’s Tavern from 6pm to 9pm! RSVP here!


Send me a reminder on Giving Day!

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Monument Academy: Coming in 2015

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We have been learning more about Monument Academy for almost a year now and are so excited for it to open its doors Washington, DC. Monument is building an environment that will focus on all aspects of a child’s life, education, and well-being. Take a second to learn more about their vision and how you can be involved, as a volunteer or employee! -DC127

Monument Academy is embarking on an imperative mission to create a public, tuition-free, weekday boarding school for youth who are or may be in contact with the foster care system and we are doing it right here in Washington, DC. There is no doubt this journey will be challenging. We embrace this knowing the significance of the need and the impact our school will have on the lives of the children and families we will serve.

Right now, young adults who age out of the foster care system are at a significantly higher risk for homelessness, unemployment, illness, incarceration, welfare dependency, and sexual and physical victimization than their peers. Although youth in foster care report having similar life aspirations as their peers, their educational needs often go unmet and these dreams are not realized. In fact, these young adults are more than twice as likely as their peers to never attain a high school diploma or equivalency degree. Monument Academy will change this reality for youth in DC.

In addition to an unparalleled, personalized educational experience, we will ensure our students receive an excellent education in social and emotional well-being and that they are provided with an opportunity to learn, practice, and master independent living skills such as securing housing, cooking and nutrition, and financial literacy. Each of our students will develop a positive relationship with at least one adult with whom they plan goals and reflect on progress. Our hope is that Monument Academy students will engage in rich experiences such as summer camps, internships, wilderness trips, and international travel to supplement their academic career and prepare them for life in college, a career of their choice, and for independence and participation in the larger community as an adult.

Monument Academy Public Charter School is very excited to be developing a relationship with DC127. We are impressed by your mission and the work you do. We see the intersections in our work and the possibilities that could come from our collaboration.

Although we have been in the research and development process for quite sometime, we are now in a rapid sprint toward our grand opening. We will open our doors in July of 2015 for our staff and will welcome our first class of 40 fifth graders in August. Our plan is to build the student body by adding one grade level per year through to twelfth grade. At capacity, we will be able to serve and make a difference in the lives of 320 Washington, DC youth each year.

We hope and anticipate that we can work collaboratively with DC 127 as we build our staff and our support systems for students. Once we are open, there will be numerous opportunities to come interact with the students and share in their experiences. Over the next 6 months, here are three ways that we would love to have you get involved with Monument Academy:

  • Apply to work: We have openings for teachers, social workers, administrative and operations staff and houseparents. Visit our website for the full job descriptions:
  • Volunteer: We will have opportunities that range from administrative tasks to student and family outreach to helping prepare the classrooms and residences for our students.
  • Safe Families for Children: Our school is a weekday boarding school but we anticipate that some children may experience an unexpected disruption in their home life. We have been speaking with DC127 about receiving support for weekend stays for our children should the need arise.

If you are interested in any of these opportunities or want to learn more about Monument Academy, please visit our website at and feel free to contact us at You can also see our flyers describing our school and work opportunities here: Information for Families, Monument Academy BrochureEmployment Opportunities.

One City. One Hope: Who is the Mother to the Motherless?

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On November 7th, we hosted a night that brought 15 churches and 100 people together to pray for and unite on behalf of the kids in DC’s foster care system and those at risk of entering.

That’s the meat and potatoes. But as we all know, the details never do it justice. For me, November 7th was a reflection of the heart of DC127. People from churches all of over the city came together because of their love for Christ and their commitment to the children of DC. And that’s kind of beautiful.DC127-0013

If you weren’t able to make it, we’ve uploaded the video of our main speaker, Robert Gelinas, below (and it’s posted here).

The whole thing was quite powerful, but there was one question in particular that Robert posed that struck me. He said that if we are the Bride of Christ, and if God is the Father to the fatherless, then who is the mother to the motherless?

I hadn’t thought of the church in this sense before. I’ve prayed over and over that as the Father to the fatherless, God would move in Washington, DC on behalf of the children without homes. I’ve prayed that as the Father to the fatherless, God speak to each child so they knew they weren’t alone. And I have prayed that the Church in DC would reflect this trait of Christ and take up the reputation of caring for the orphan that the Church has heDC127-0056ld since its founding, but understanding the Church as the mother to the motherless gave a name, role, and new light to our responsibility as Christ’s Bride, Body, and People.

Our goal is to see Washington, DC be a city where every child has a home and families get the support they need, but there are many ways we could do this without taking the time to create a network of churches. There are many wonderful initiatives in our city, but it would be a sin if the foster care wait list was reversed and the church wasn’t part of that success. Inherent to this vision of a city that cares for its children is the leadership of the church in DC ensuring the success of each child.

There are about fifty other points in Robert’s talk that made me stop and think, so I’ll just let you watch the video instead of parsing them all out here. The last point, for me, is if God is the father to the fatherless and if that does make us the mother to the motherless, then that truth eradicates any doubt that God is with us, strengthening us, and moving us forward.

-Chelsea, Director

P.S. If you want to see more photos from One City. One Hope, click here. And we’d like to thank Andrea and Renata for capturing the evening through pictures, and Nathan Cronk, Raphael Derungs, and InterMotion Media for recording the evening and creating the video below. And if you want to hear more from Robert, check out his new podcast.

One City. One Hope. – Robert Gelinas 3 from DC127 on Vimeo.

The Church and Reunification in Foster Care

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Today we’re featuring the Christian Alliance for Orphan’s webinar: The Church as a Partner in Biological Family Reunification in Foster Care.

Reunification, when a child is able to return to their family after spending time in foster care, is a beautiful thing and the ultimate purpose of foster care. We believe that as the Church, we’re called to restore families and support all families. The webinar below is a great resource to learn more about how your church can support and reunify families.

If you’re interested in mobilizing your church around reunification, send us an email at We would love to help you launch!

The Church as a Partner in Biological Family Reunification in Foster Care from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.

Our Orphan Sunday Prayer

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Blog-ButtonAs we work to recruit churches to our city-wide prayer gathering, One City. One Hope on November 7th, we’re calling on all churches to join churches across the globe in observing Orphan Sunday.

We’re asking all churches to join us in this prayer. As a collective Body across the city praying this prayer together, we’re engaging in Orphan Sunday alongside churches around the world.

You can print out the PDF version here: Orphan Sunday Prayer

You can also use the text version of the prayer below:

A prayer for Orphan Sunday

On this Orphan Sunday, we join with your people across our city, country and world to pray for children. We know that love for these precious children begins not with us, but with you. You pursued us when we were wayward and alone. You adopted us as your children. You invite us to address you as Abba and to live as your sons and daughters. Truly, we love because you first loved us.

You tell us also that you are near to the downtrodden and destitute. Your heart aches for children that face the world alone. You champion the cause of those who have no one else to take their side. And you call us to do the same.

So we pray that you would rouse us to share your heart. We ask that you would stir your people to passion and vision and action on behalf of children that have no family, and those in families in crisis.

We lift up to you the millions of children in the world who have lost their parents to disease, to war, to addiction, to poverty, to abandonment. As you promise to do, place the lonely in families. Be their defender, their provider, their hope and peace. Help us to do the same.

We pray also for the 400,000 children in our foster system in America, and the 1,200 children in Washington, DC. So often, they are bounced from home to home, knowing little love, consistency or true nurture. Please be their love, their consistency, their nurture. Help us to do the same.

And we pray for children at-risk of being removed from their families. Support these parents with your love, your grace, and your patience. Teach us to open our communities, welcoming families in distress and strengthening them as a unit.

We confess that we have often lived with little regard for these precious lives. Please forgive us. Lead us to take up their cause, not in guilt or obligation, but as a joyful response to your great love for us.

As we do, we pray that you would use our humble response to transform. To transform the lives of countless children both physically and spiritually. To transform us as we encounter you in them. To transform your Church as we lift our eyes beyond our own comfort and self-focused religion to live out the painful beauty of the Gospel. And finally, to transform a watching world as it catches glimpses of your love made visible through the actions of your people.

We commit all this to you, the One who is a father and mother to all, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Foster care initiative to launch in New York

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Mark Morales, Children’s Ministry Director at Full Gospel Christian Center in Suffolk (Long Island), New York, is leading the newest 1.27. Mark and his wife, Linda are adoptive parents and recently received approval from Full Gospel for the launch. Today, we’re excited to talk with Mark about the initiative.

What inspired you to launch a foster care initiative in New York?
I have always had a heart for kids and have been involved in children’s ministry in some capacity for almost 20 years. My heart’s desire has always been to help children to reach their potential in God. In 2006 while living in Texas, [my wife, Linda, and I] went through the process to become foster parents and then, through divine intervention, we were chosen to adopt a 2-year-old boy who was in Texas Child Protective Services. He became our third and youngest child and has changed our lives. During that time I felt that, while it is incredible to adopt a child from another country, we can’t forget the children in our own backyard that need families. Eight years later I went on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic to build a house and minister to kids. I left there feeling that I did a wonderful thing, but again I wondered why I needed to go to another country to minster to children when so many kids in my city needed help. It was then that I started researching how we could help New York kids in distress. Through that research we founded Project 1.27 and I knew that we were called by God to start a ministry to reach the children of the Big Apple in foster care.

What will the launch entail?
Our launch is going to be November 2, Orphan Sunday. We plan to roll this out to our church family. Our pastor has sent letters to area pastors to let them know what we are doing. We hope to have a guest speaker that day, and we have partnered with a foster agency, an adoption agency, a mentoring ministry, and The Long Island Heart Gallery with the expectation that they will all be with us that day for our launch with tables set up in our lobby to answer any questions and to show their support of our ministry.

What ideas, if any, will you adopt from your predecessors, like CO’s Project 127?
We have adopted many ideas from Project 1.27. The very foundation of what I would like to see happen in my state at its core is the same as Project 1.27: “A Family for Every Child”. Our Mission Statement is similar: “To Inspire, Recruit and Support Churches and Families to Foster and Adopt Children in their own backyard.” Also like Project 1.27, we hope to have collaborative efforts with area churches.

What new ideas do you hope to implement with New York 1.27?
We will come alongside people who are already doing great things for kids, such as case workers and CASAs, and show our support through prayer and gifts of appreciation during Christmas time. They need to know that what they do for kids is incredible. We have also networked with some group homes in our area and will have the children from these homes come to our church events, such as Harvest party, Christmas party, and Easter celebrations.

How can we be praying for your team, specifically?
I know that this sounds cliché, but I feel we need prayer for wisdom, wisdom to know the steps we need to take and who we need to align with. We need prayer to have churches catch the vision. We also need prayer for funding.

Thanks, Mark! Please join DC127 in praying for this new sister initiative!

Foster care in the news: CASA edition

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  1. Children’s voices heard through CASA volunteers. Are you passionate about what you do? Are you unafraid to ruffle feathers to defend what you believe? Do you voluntarily invest your time, energy and countless car miles in pursuit of justice?
    CASA of Central Virginia volunteer Sunny Simone’s answers would be, yes, yes and I do.
  2. CASA of Union County is changing lives, one child at a time. CASA volunteers unselfishly dedicate their time, energy and, most important, their heart, to Union County’s abused and neglected children currently in foster care. Each of these 405 children deserves to have their voices heard. CASAs, who work with only the child’s best interests in mind, advocate on behalf of each child — whether it be educational, medical, emotional or beyond
  3. First CASA Black Tie affair comes to Richmond. When abused or neglected children are moved by court order to group or foster homes overseen by the state social and legal agencies, they can get lost in these sometimes overburdened systems.As an extra layer of protection, judges appoint “special advocates” who volunteer to watch over individual cases.For many abused children, their count-appointed special advocate (CASA volunteer) will be the one constant adult presence in their lives.
  4. CASA volunteers serve youth in the court system. Sometimes, children get swept into Ravalli County’s justice system through no action of their own, in cases that may involve abuse, neglect, or even exploitation. Others may have been declared “delinquent.”
  5. My journey from pain and fear to love and hope. I was 6 and my sister was 4 when we were taken away from our mom. It was an awful time. We were terrified. But there was one person who stood by us through all the upheaval. She was there for us every time we needed her, making sure we were OK.Her name was Miss Belle. She was our CASA volunteer.
  6. Honoring my grandfather’s memory through CASA. When my sister-in-law told me about a volunteer opportunity with CASA advocating on behalf of children in need, I knew that was how I wanted to give back. I feel in a way I honor my grandfather’s memory through my work with these children.
  7. “Being a CASA is my heart’s work.” When Tammy first heard about the CASA cause while watching an episode of the Dr. Phil Show in 2009, she knew it was for her.
  8. Foster children stories. The followings stories are real and came from the book “Someone There For Me” published by the CWLA Press and edited by National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association. The pictures are royalty free images used to protect the real identity of the foster children.
  9. “Our CASA was our voice.” I believe my focus and my worldview—that it is not the falling that matters, but the rising every time we fall—is in large part due to the attention that my siblings and I received from our CASA volunteer.
  10. “I am the reason you should never give up on a child.” I’d like to share with you a little of how CASA’s powerful commitment to children has influenced my life.

Want more info on becoming a CASA? Check here.

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