Bainbridge Rotary Club hears about child welfare from CASA of Southwest Georgia

Published 12:30 pm Saturday, September 23, 2023

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Members of the Bainbridge Rotary Club met for their weekly meeting at the Kirbo Center on Tuesday. The guest speaker of the day was Dan Provence with CASA of Southwest Georgia, accompanied by CASA’s Executive Director Nan McIntosh.

Provence explained the main goal of CASA, saying, “We provide objective, unbiased information to the judge so he could maybe make a better decision about what to do with foster kids.”

Serving as advocates for children, CASA is often involved in cases of abuse and neglect. “These kids have been abused and neglected, and a lot of times they don’t know it,” Provence said. “We as adults, we recognize it. We remove the child from their family, and sometimes that’s just as traumatic to that child as the things that have happened to them.” CASA currently has 24 volunteers, having recently added four, while also representing 50 children.

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He went on to discuss the process parents must go through to get their child back, namely the completion of a case plan. “We don’t want the children to linger in foster care, it seems like sometimes though, that they do,” he said. “Parents, a lot of times, the ones that go along like that, they won’t start their work on their case plan, the things that they have to accomplish early on. They delay, they delay, then finally they realize they won’t get their kids back unless they start it up.”

Naturally, child welfare and custody cases are contentious, and Provence highlighted the issues faced when investigating them. “The first information you get on a case won’t always be what actually is going on,” he said. “You’ll get different information given to you by the parents, there may be strains between the parents and the grandparents, maybe the grandparents have the children… you just can’t accept everything you hear right off. You write it down, and you commit it to memory, but you have to compare that later with what’s really going on.”

One issue not directly related to cases he discussed was the need for a visitation center; as he put it, many visitations took place at either McDonalds or the park, with recent summer temperatures prohibiting outdoor visits. DFACS does have a room for monitored visitation, though he stated that other CASA locations have entire centers for visitation set up. “We hope to, in the future, form a group of people and get the community behind it, because it’s very critical that the children get to visit their parents in a good location.”

Provence discussed various other topics relating to CASA, before the meeting was adjourned.