July 2022 Advocate Spotlight: Gerald Humphrey
We invite you to meet Gerald Humphrey, nominated by Case Supervisor Victoria Warmuth.
“Gerald has been an Advocate since 2019 and has carried six cases,” Victoria said. “A grandfather who goes by ‘Ruh Roh,’ he enjoys advocating for young men who are in need of a stable male figure, and he’s not afraid of getting deep into cases to support the youth he serves.”
We asked Gerald to share about his experiences as an Advocate.
Is there anything unique about your background that contributes to your approach to advocacy?
I am 72 years old and retired as a senior vice president for a major oil and gas engineering and construction contractor in 2015. I continue to be active in that industry as a consultant. I married my wife, Denise, in 2015. We were both widowed. Together we have seven children and eight grandchildren. One of the joys of my life has been raising and mentoring my kids and grandkids. Denise and I are actively involved in all of their lives.
How did you become interested in volunteering as a CASA?
After retirement I was struggling with having a purpose in life and being relevant. I have a golf friend that I discussed my struggles with, and he, being a Montgomery County CASA, told me about his advocacy work. I did my research and determined that being a CASA would fill my void.
Did you have any reservations about volunteering?
I was afraid of failing the child I was assigned to. I talked with other new Advocates that had similar fears. I relied on my Supervisor, Victoria Warmuth, to keep me out of trouble and to educate me on the things I did not know. She gave me the confidence to move on.
Explain in your own words the work you do as a CASA. Why is it important for a child in care?
My primary goal is to ensure that the child I am working with is in a safe place, has adequate food and clothing, is receiving proper medical and mental care, and that their education needs are being met. This includes ensuring that they are getting the right therapy to help them cope with the trauma they have experienced in their life. My secondary goal is to help CPS by doing the research to locate and identify possible family members to be permanent placement options should the parents not meet their service plans.
What has surprised you most about your work as a CASA?
My surprise was the number of kids who have been removed from home because their caregivers feared they or other children in the house would be harmed. The children have severe anger issues. In cases like these, we’re even more focused on getting the child the support they need. Two of my six cases have been with such children.
What has been the most difficult aspect of being a casa? Most rewarding?
The most difficult is the fear of failing the child. The most rewarding is to be able to reunite a child with a parent or with another family member. Three of my six cases have ended in reunification.
What would you like the community to know about children in care?
The children in care did not ask to be there nor in most cases did they do anything that got them into foster care. Every child deserves the chance to have a safe and happy childhood with the ability to be the best version of themselves that is possible.
What have you learned about children in care?
Many of the children in care have deep-seated, trauma-based behaviors. These kids need specialized therapy and secure placements to allow them to get the coping skills to deal with that trauma.
Is there a particular moment or memory that stands out for you?
One of my kids was a chronic runaway. I explained the danger of him being alone on the streets and how much I worried about him. During most of his runaways, he would call me from the street to tell me he was safe and eating because he knew I was worried. He was a good kid at heart. We struggled because we could not keep him in one place long enough to get him the consistent therapy that he needed to develop coping skills.
Anything else you want to share about CASA?
CASA filled a void in my life like nothing else I could have hoped for. It is rewarding, frustrating, and so very much needed by the kids in foster care.