December Advocate Spotlight: Julie Jones
This month, we invite you to meet CASA Advocate, Julie Jones. Thanks so much to Julie for taking the time to answer a few questions for us.
“She is always available, dedicated, and brings such joy to all the children on her case load. Julie always takes on multiple cases, and makes a difference in the life of each child!”
Can you tell us in your own words about what problem Advocates help to solve?
Advocates are the child’s voice. We are unpaid, and truly can be the voice for the best interest of the child.
HOW DID YOU FIRST HEAR ABOUT CASA?
Dr. Phil and Laura Bush!
WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THIS CAUSE?
I knew I wanted to join this cause once I retired. I traveled a lot while working so wanted to wait until I had the time to commit.
DID YOU HAVE ANY RESERVATIONS ABOUT BECOMING AN ADVOCATE?
None. I had researched and knew this is where I was being led.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE HOW YOU FELT WHEN YOU WERE SWORN IN?
It was such an honor to go through the training to be able to make a difference. The swearing-in shows that the courts trust you and listen.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE HOW YOU FELT WHEN YOU TOOK YOUR FIRST CASE?
It was a tough case that was not for the faint of heart. I think my background in Human Resources helped me understand and know this one was meant for me.
WITH SO MANY GREAT ORGANIZATIONS TO SUPPORT, WHY SHOULD OTHERS CHOOSE TO SUPPORT CASA?
My husband and I have worked with the homeless and elderly. I felt like these kids really need someone to look out for their best interests.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT CHILDREN IN FOSTER CARE?
I have learned how resilient these kids are and how well they can adjust in the right environment. They just need someone who loves and cares for them.
What was most surprising to you about the role of an Advocate?
That judges read your reports and will listen to you. We are not there for CPS or lawyers; we are there to make sure the children’s best interest is considered.
IS THERE ARE PARTICULAR MOMENT OR MEMORY THAT STANDS OUT FOR YOU?
By far, watching the adoptions take place. No greater love.
What was the biggest challenge you have faced as a child’s Advocate?
Going through COVID and not seeing the kids face to face.
What would you say to someone considering becoming a volunteer Advocate?
I have become a billboard for others looking for a non-profit to help. So many have said they didn’t think they could do it, but you can! Is it heartbreaking at times? Of course. But the benefits of knowing you helped a child far outweigh those low moments.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OTHER PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT CASA?
Montgomery County is blessed to have a CASA for every child in foster care. Not many counties can say that, and the resources available to help are always there. When I let my husband know I was going to do this, he asked if I was going to bring the children home. I assured him I was not able to do that, and he has since gone through the training to be my helper.
How has this changed you?
Realizing how many kids are in foster care and how overwhelmed the CPS system is. I now understand why there is high turnover in CPS. Their job is heartbreaking and never ends.