Always Do What is Best For the Child
As part of her college curriculum, Tasha learned about CASA and everything it offered. This sparked her interest, but it wasn’t until she came to personally know foster children at her elementary school that she decided to become a volunteer. Tasha has been a CASA since March and since then has had a number of cases that have really hit home.
Something that sets Tasha apart is that she has a case that involves a medically fragile child. There are challenges with every case, however the challenges are sometimes more frequent when there are other factors involved such as this. One of the biggest obstacles is working around the child’s medical equipment. It must be moved with the child and it is sometimes difficult to find foster homes that are properly trained to accommodate a child with severe medical needs.
Another big challenge is working school in the picture. “These children have just as much of the right to be in school as another other child,” said Nicholson, “It is important to understand that a child with disabilities is entitled to an education environment that is as least restrictive as possible.” Nicholson attended IEP meetings with the special education department at various elementary schools in order to get her child enrolled.
A typical day as CASA, Tasha says, “consists of a lot of e-mails and phone calls, but I like to see the kids as often as I can because it makes it more real to me. On the bad days when things aren’t going the right way, just being with the kids makes it easier to keep going because I see it is so worth it.” Tasha meets with her kids as often as she can. “I do more visits then I probably should, because I just like being with the kids” says Nicholson. It is the children that serve as a reminder of the commitment you make as a CASA so being with them is of utmost importance.
Tasha has had one case that has hit permanency, which she says has been the most rewarding part of her CASA journey so far. Her advice is to “always keep a child in mind, do everything that is in the best interest for the child. Know that you are sometimes the only stable part of that child’s life and they should always come first.”