Volunteer Spotlight: Patricia Stack

Patty StackOccupation:  Retired Human Resource Professional

Volunteer for:  Voices for Children of Carroll County

Motivation for becoming a CASA:  Upon retirement, I was determined to find something meaningful to do with my free time.  My daughter, who is a therapist and works with CASA’s involved in her own cases, suggested that I look into my local CASA Program. From my very first training class I knew that this is where I could make a significant difference and I realized that this was what I definitely wanted to do. I also discovered that my acquired HR skills – listening, observing, interviewing, problem-solving, writing and looking at every situation objectively – could easily transition into this new role and serve me well.  Although I had no experience in working with children (aside from raising my own two daughters) and no personal experience with the foster care system, I’ve always been drawn to helping others. This would just be a new venue for me and I was ready to do whatever I could to serve as an advocate for children facing so much difficulty in their lives.

Current Case:  For the past 18 months I have been a CASA for a little girl.  She has been in two foster homes since birth and in her current placement for over a year.  As this is my first case, I have not been in a situation where I have had the opportunity to connect through conversation.  Instead I have spent a lot of time getting to know the foster family and observing this little girl from infant to toddler stage. This has given me new perspective on the challenges foster parents face which will be valuable insight in future cases I may have. As for this particular child, she is thriving and it has been a joy to watch her grow and bond with her foster family.

Challenges Facing Today’s Foster Children & Youth: Having only had experience with a very young child who was removed at birth, I would say that the biggest challenge is securing a permanent placement as quickly as possible, whether this be reunification with the biological parents or adoption. All studies indicate that attachment to a caregiver in the early years (0-3) provides a necessary sense of security and foundation for the child.  In most cases, reunification with the biological family is the common goal and much depends on the parent(s) readiness to change. Whether appropriate change does or does not occur, time is critical for this young child who needs permanent and consistent care taking in order to thrive.