Kathleen Kennedy has served as a CASA volunteer since 2008. She has advocated for a total of 11 children on four separate cases. A dedicated volunteer, Kathleen is tenacious in overcoming obstacles on her cases. She even took it upon herself to learn Spanish so that she might communicate with family members who did not speak English. In this account, Kathleen relays the story of her very first case and demonstrates how CASA volunteering requires a mix of objectivity, compassion and trust.
“My first case involved four children who had been removed from their mother’s care and were placed with their three respective fathers. As I investigated the placement of the 4 year-old boy with his father, I became increasingly concerned that the child was unsafe in this new living situation. I shared my concerns with the guardian ad litem, and in court, we both recommended removing of the boy from his father’s care. A few days later, I received a call that the boy had indeed been removed due to allegations of physical abuse. I will never forget my overwhelming sense of relief when I learned he was out of harm’s way. I went to visit him in his new foster home and he came running to me. At this point, the boy had not seen his siblings for several months, and we arranged a meeting for the four of them. The look in their eyes as they saw each other again was heartwarming; they slid easily into their relationships, as if they had not missed any time with each other.
Watching the four children navigate their new surroundings and adapt to living apart, and observing how they have accepted new people into their lives, including their CASA volunteer, has provided some wonderful moments. The children were very young but I earned their trust: they knew they could contact me with questions and concerns. Knowing that CASA volunteers are making a difference in a children’s perception of the world is extremely gratifying.”
Would you like to learn more about CASA volunteering? Attend Fairfax CASA's next information session, Saturday, Aug. 25, 11 a.m. - noon, at the Patrick Henry Library in Vienna.