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Safety is the First Priority

ProKids Executive Director Tracy Cook: “Along with ProKids CASA Managers and attorneys, I have the joy of seeing CASAs’ energy, imagination, and commitment: the energy to become a CASA and take action on behalf of our children, the imagination of a better life for our children, and the commitment to see things through, no matter how difficult,” Cook said. One example, she noted: “Adrianne advocating for the safety of her CASA children.”

As an attorney, Adrianne Stella understood the role of a CASA Volunteer and how she could advocate in court for abused and neglected children. She didn’t know that she would learn so much about children and their families.

In her 7 years as a CASA Volunteer, serving 12 children in 8 families, she met Emily, Nick and Kathie. They had been removed from their homeless and drug addicted mother. They were living with relatives when Adrianne met them. The mother wanted to regain custody of her children.

Adrianne encouraged the mother to fulfill the court’s requirements for reunification: parenting classes, drug treatment, therapy and anger management sessions.

Adrianne had many difficult conversations with the mother. She would need to protect the children from the father of the two youngest. He was violent and, although he refused to be tested, was suspected of abusing drugs.

Adrianne got to know the children: Emily, who at 10 was quiet but loved the donuts Adrianne brought; 8-year-old Nick, who struggled in school but could tell Adrianne all about the Bengals and his video games; and Kathie, close behind Nick, who was chatty and loved to tell Adrianne everything.

As the case proceeded, the children’s mother made progress. ProKids advocated for the children to move back to their mother’s care. She had complied with the court’s orders, had a job and an apartment. She agreed to continue with her therapy.

But as long as the father continues to have some contact with the mother, ProKids keeps advocating for the children to make sure they are safe.

Adrianne says ProKids makes sure the safety of the children is never forgotten. As Adrianne puts it: “When we can work to find the answers, when we can learn things that no one else can take the time to learn, we make a difference for these kids.”


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