CASA means Court Appointed Special Advocate.
CASA is an organization that uses volunteers as advocates for children who are passing through the judicial system through no fault of their own.
Usually they are victims of parental neglect or abuse, and the courts are trying to give them a stable, safe home life.
The volunteers are to act as impartial voices of reason on the behalf of the children who often don’t know how to speak for themselves.
They interact with the children and the adults in the lives of these children; relatives, case workers and judges.
I had known about CASA for several years, but in 2014, I felt my life and my job would allow me the flexibility to operate as a CASA volunteer.
I applied for the position, passed the background check and was invited to attend training orientation in November of 2014.
Apparently, because of my performance during this training, I was rejected (without formal notice) from serving in CASA.
The last part of the in-person training workshop involved an exercise that the training leader claimed would help CASA volunteers develop empathy for parents wanting to regain the custody of their children:
Each volunteer was instructed to make a list of the five most important things in their lives. Going around the room, we were each to pick one item out of our list, and say if we were willing to give up that part of our lives to regain custody of an offspring that had been taken away from us.
The first couple of items weren’t too bad, but then it got pretty unrealistic:
Most people had listed their homes and their careers in their top five.
How can you give up your home and give the child a place to live?
How can you give up your career and feed the child?
I tried to back out of the exercise, but told I wasn’t allowed to. We each had to go through every item and say out loud whether or not we would be willing to abandon our priorities to regain custody of an offspring.
In my top five, I had listed faith and family together, so I was able to say that I couldn’t give up one family member to gain another, and therefore didn’t have to walk out of the meeting at that moment.
But in the feedback paper, I did let them know that I thought the last exercise was counterproductive.
Looking back, while I understand CASA’s desire to establish a point of empathy for non-custodial parents, I have to suspect that one goal of the last exercise may have been to identify people of faith, so they could quietly be excluded from the program.
During the exercise in question, anyone that listed ‘faith’ as important was expected to tell if they would give up their faith to regain custody of a child.
And indeed, the two or three people who had listed ‘faith’, said they would give up their faith to regain custody of a child.
But in the New Testament, in the Gospel of Matthew, 10:37, Jesus said:
“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (NIV)
This is a serious issue; one that should never arise in America. No American organization be allowed to even propose a situation that a parent might need to renounce their faith to regain custody of a child.
I would expect that in communist China, but not in Iowa.
Long story short; I was never called to serve, most likely because of the fuss I made about them tampering with my faith.
July 3, 2017, I googled 'CASA lgbtq' and was directed to a CASA website, where the headline read:
'Local and Statewide Initiatives on Working With LGBTQ Youth'
"National CASA recognizes the unique challenges that LGBT youth in care face. We conducted interviews with four programs across the country to learn about their initiatives to better advocate for LGBT youth in care. How did they start? What resistance did they face? How have they been successful? We invite you to start a conversation in your community."
So CASA has been taken over by the lgbtq community? It seems they reject true people of faith that apply to serve at CASA.
When I applied to serve on CASA, they advertised that many children were without advocates.
I suppose so, if people of faith are excluded.