Advocating for Young Children in Foster Care

CASA Volunteer, Nancy Kot is a powerful representative in the courtroomfor children living in foster care under the age of five. “The care of these young children is of extreme importance, since they are completely dependent upon their caretakers for their survival,” Nancy said.
CASA Volunteers advocate in family court on behalf of abused and neglected children in foster care and are dedicated to helping these children find a safe, permanent home. Working on her third case, Nancy is known for her calm and non-judgmental demeanor with the biological and foster care families. Because the children cannot communicate, it is essential to listen to all parties involved. “I develop a trust with all the adult caretakers so they will open up to me; while at the same time, making it clear that I must remain neutral,” she explained. Working with young birth parents can be challenging. Often insecure or self-centered, they need extra guidance to make their children a priority, Nancy said.
Kelley Waterfall, Kot’s CASA Case Supervisor said, “Nancy has shown a great ability to connect with the birth parents to provide the best outcomes for her foster children.”
When working with young children, she tries to notice how the baby bonds with the caretakers because affection eases the separation from the biological parents, Nancy explained. “These babies are at the beginning stages of learning how to love and these early attachments are very important,” Nancy said.
As CASA Volunteers, it is important that we understand the various stages of growth and development for different ages, because addressing developmental delays with early intervention services can help detect health concerns and learning disabilities. CASA Volunteers must observe the child’s surroundings to identify the level of safety in the home and to ensure the home is child proof, and adequate food and diapers are available, Nancy explained.
Unlike other volunteer opportunities, a CASA Volunteer has a significant responsibility to fully represent the needs and rights of a child, but the satisfaction of positively changing a child’s life is the greatest reward, she said.
With perceptiveness, familiarity in infant-care, and a considerate manner, Nancy Kot effectively and passionately speaks up for children, whose stories too often go unheard. “Children, who are being neglected and abused by the very people that they look to for unconditional love and care, [their stories] are heartbreaking,” Nancy said.

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