CASA of Caroline
In 2003, over 300 cases of abuse or neglect were investigated by the Caroline County Department of Social Services. Approximately 50 children were in foster care at the end of that year. Each child who was removed from their parents’ home was involved in a lengthy court process. A group of concerned citizens recognized the need for someone to watch out for the best interest of foster care children. Spearheaded by then Circuit Court Judge J. Owen Wise, who had seen firsthand the positive results of CASA advocacy, CASA of Caroline became operational in September 2003.
Below is a brief history as told by our founder, The Honorable Judge J. Owen Wise.
Although the concept of CASA was firmly rooted in other states across the country and other counties in Maryland, its introduction to Caroline County was a challenge. It was akin to introducing a foreign language. Most people thought any child in the juvenile court system must have done something wrong to be there. One of the first hurdles was getting people at large to accept the fact that the children CASA deals with are victims and are part of the juvenile system due to no fault of their own. It remains a hurdle to this day.
It has been said that the reason that we don’t pay volunteers is not because they are worthless but because they are priceless. Keep up your unheralded good work!
It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.