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CASA volunteer gives voice to children in need
Faces and Places
Faces and Places esther spencer 2
Aspiring law student Ester Spencer stands outside the Liberty County Courthouse. - photo by Photo by Frenchi Jones

To contact CASA,

Call 876-3816

Or visit its Web site which organizers want noted is still under construction

Name: Esther Spencer

Age: 22

Hometown: Hinesville

Education: “I attended Emory University in 2008 where I received my bachelor’s degree in political science and English.”

“I works for Trinity Realty and I volunteer as a court appointed special advocate.”

What are your plans? “I plan to attend law school this fall at the University of Georgia.”

How long have you been volunteering as an advocate? “Since November 2008.”

What do you enjoy most about your job? “It gives you an opportunity to view the juvenile systems from various perspectives and you have the power to make recommendations. You can honestly make a difference or a change in finding a safe home for a child.”

What made you want to volunteer?
“I have always had a heart for child advocacy.”

How many children do you currently have on your caseload? “Right now, I advocate for one child. She is 2 years old.”

Advocating on her behalf, what are some of the things you have to do?
“I have to communicate with the various entities involved, including attorneys and caseworkers in the division and as well as family members. Basically, I have to do a lot of research to understand the complexities of the system and various processes. I also interview various individuals who have had contact with the child to better understand the child’s needs.”

What kind of training or support have you received in order to do your job effectively?
“Basically, under CASA, each volunteer is required to complete a 30-hour training session and, through the training session, you are given a wealth of information, including resources and exercises. You truly feel better prepared to take on a case.
“There is also a wonderful support system. The other volunteers are extremely helpful and very understanding and I always feel comfortable asking them questions.”  

What is the most difficult part of your job? “The degree of the responsibility is daunting at times. When you are dealing with various entities, trying to find collaboration can sometimes be difficult. But, although at times being a CASA is difficult, it is also very rewarding.”

Why do you think the service that CASAs provide is important?
“CASA is a wonderful organization because it provides children who are victims of abuse and neglect with a voice in the court system.
“As a volunteer, you are able to express those wishes of the child. I feel like because the system is so difficult, sometimes children don’t have a voice and sometimes their wishes, unintentionally, are never heard. I truly enjoy being their voice.”

What else would you want people to know? “We need more people to volunteer as CASAs.”
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