Hello everyone. My name is Lorna. Some of you may know me but others don’t, so, I want to tell you about my experience with CASA. Court Appointed Special Advocates is a great program and honestly, I don’t know how I could’ve made it a few times without them. My advocate helped me. She was right by my side through some really hard struggles. When it was too late to call my social worker I always knew I could call my CASA volunteer, Julie Tolliver, and explain my predicament.
Originally I lived with grandparents but when my grandmother died I went to live with some family friends. That was a mistake. They used drugs and I got caught up in that too. I went into foster care, wound up going into a hospital, and then back into foster care. I was placed in Edmonson County, Monroe County, Barren County and then in my 8th placement - Hart County.
On one particular occasion I didn’t know where to turn. I was so very unhappy in my foster care placement. Things were just getting worse every day. I thought about running away but called my CASA volunteer instead. She helped me work things out. She was really on top of things. We worked like a team, like Starsky and Hutch. Through everything she was right beside me, telling me we were going to get through this. She said “It might take some time, but everything will work out.” And sure enough, it did.
One day my foster mother got a call for me to pack some clothes and be delivered to the Hart County office of Protection and Permanency. I was going to the Children’s Crisis Stabilization Unit – a vacation compared to where I had been.
She said "It might take some time, but everything will work out." And sure enough, it did.
At Permanency and Protection a social worker and the CASA director, Will Constable, were there to take me to the CCSU. While at CCSU he came to visit me and told me exactly what was going on. No reading between the lines – he just told me straight out. I admire that about him.
When I had to go to court to see the Judge Will came to pick me up. My social worker was sick and I didn’t have any other way to get to court. At the Courthouse my CASA worker, Julie, was there too. When the time came for me to meet the Judge behind closed doors Will and Julie asked if I wanted them with me. I needed someone by my side so I invited them to come along. The Judge and I talked and when I didn’t know what to say Will and Julie helped me out. My CASA worker was the only one who believed it wouldn’t be crazy to send me home for 5 days during the Christmas holiday. Now, I’m home for good due to my CASA worker, who did not give up, and the Honorable Judge Nance. Julie believed that if we fought for what we believed was right, good things would happen. I now live with my step-grandmother and see my mother almost every day. I am going to graduate from Butler County High School next month and my plans, for now, are to enter the Navy.
I have done well – so far – in spite of many setbacks in my life. I have been removed from my mother’s care and placed with my grandparents. My grandparents adopted me.
I sincerely give CASA all the thanks in the world for helping make this happen.
I also want to thank Judge Nance, my social worker Kiesha Gray, my foster parents, my Guardian ad Litem Marti Harrison, and everyone else who has helped me through these trying times.
**Case worker NOTE: Lorna's story relates what she remembered and doesn’t include the abuse and neglect she suffered as an infant.