CASA of Canadian County – Michelle’s Story
Michelle was only 12 years old when she told her doctor her stepfather abused her sexually. At the time, her mother had no idea, and her stepfather denied her claims. Michelle’s testimony and physical evidence, however, were undeniable, so she was removed from the home and placed with her grandmother. Michelle was then assigned to a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer named Laurie. Laurie met with Michelle several times a month and soon they became very close. Michelle often called when she was upset or had flashbacks and Laurie helped her process the trauma and calm down.
Laurie worked with DHS to get Michelle into counseling and on an Individualized Education Program at school. She also helped Michelle obtain a Victims Protective Order against her stepfather, so he could legally no longer have contact with her. At each stage of the court process, Laurie made sure Michelle was involved and understood the process.
During this time, Michelle’s mother took the appropriate steps to create a new relationship with her daughter, including divorcing Michelle’s stepfather, and attending individual counseling sessions and parenting classes. Laurie supervised visits between Michelle and her mother until Michelle felt safe with her mom again. Laurie helped them start family counseling to process what they had been through. After almost a year of many hardships and difficult conversations, Michelle was excited to go home and live with her mother. Laurie still checks in with Michelle and Michelle calls Laurie anytime she needs to talk.
CASA Volunteers talk to children, foster parents, service providers, educators, parents, and relatives. All the information they gather through these contacts is compiled into a report that is presented to the judge presiding over the case.
The Oklahoma Bar Foundation funds 7 CASA organizations serving the following Oklahoma Counties: Canadian, Carter, Kay, Logan, Payne, Rogers, Delaware, Washington, Oklahoma, Beckham, Custer, Washita, Roger Mills, Dewey, Love, Murray, Johnston, Craig, Mayes, Pottawatomie and Lincoln.