Casa of Ohio Valley (KY)

Why I became an Advocate for neglected or abused children.

Becoming a CASA Advocate was an easy decision for me. I was born in the forties, before a lot of laws were written to protect children. In the fifties I was becoming a pre-teen and teenager and was I allowed to walk to my grandmother’s house with my sisters, one older and one younger. It was not a long walk, but it was difficult to travel because of having to pass by a house with a young boy, toddler age, that was put outside of a morning and left unattended until his father arrived after work. He was confined in a playpen and he would cry constantly due to the elements and neglect. We asked our grandmother why he was not cared for and her reply, “It is none of our business and we will not speak of it again.” We didn’t question her anymore but was aware that she did not approve. The child’s cries would bother her so that she closed her windows to block out his distress. There would be times she would sit on the porch swing and become so frustrated, she would return and stay inside her home. As I grew into adulthood, I followed the laws concerning children’s rights and noticed after becoming employed by a school corporation, there were many children that were suffering from neglect or abuse. When I learned of this wonderful program, I immediately wanted to be an advocate. I know I can’t make everything all right for these children, but I can be there to show them there are people who care about the position they have been put in. I can also help guide them through the systems of court and social workers and often encourage their parents to follow all rules of the courts and cabinet to work towards becoming better educated to properly tending to the needs of their children. As a case comes to an end, I have been disappointed in some progress but most often I feel like I have made a difference and the children are going to be free of neglect or abuse and I can often leave feeling that I was there for this family and I did all I was capable of. Watching the children being returned to their parents, possibly being adopted into a loving home or even aging out of the system to become independent, progressive young adults is reward enough. Thank You, Barbara Embrey, CASA Advocate CASA of Ohio Valley