As CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Northwest Arkansas marks its 13th year serving abused and neglected children in foster care, we look to recognize volunteer child advocates who have been with the organization almost since our doors opened. One such advocate is Janet Poole, who has been with CASA for ten plus years, advocating for more than 20 children during that time.
Janet, with two adopted children of her own, was always grateful that her children were blessed with happy, secure and safe childhoods. She knew that not all children were so blessed, and wanted to help some of those children have the same opportunities. Janet looked to CASA as a way to fulfill that mission.
Janet’s first case involved three children under the age of four, who eventually were successfully reunited with their mother. This mother had been a drug addict for ten years, and was in prison for a good deal of the time that her case was open. Janet worked with the parole office to help develop a parole plan that would help and encourage the mother to stay off drugs and leave her “old” life behind, to the benefit of her children. Janet found a facility that accepted mothers and children who were in similar circumstances, and was instrumental in arranging for the mother to stay there. Janet continued to work to help this mother become stable. She encouraged the woman to get back in touch with her mother, which she did, and re-established that bond.
A CASA works in the best interests of the child, or children, on a case, but also works to encourage and support parents if they are making an honest effort to correct the reasons their children came into foster care. Sometimes this can be accomplished, and that, as Janet will attest, is always a welcome outcome.
Janet says “I’ve had a lot of frustrations along the way, but I always remind myself I’m doing this for the children, that I’m there for that goal. Children in foster care situations are something the public does not really know about, or realize the enormity of the problem of abuse and neglect. Casa is one ray of sunshine, and makes a big difference in these cases.”
To learn more about CASA of Northwest Arkansas, and how you can help, please visit our Website at www.nwacasa.org or call the office at (479) 725-2213