As far back as she can remember, Clare Maguire has been aware of children in need. As a young adult, she joined a Big Sister program in New York City, and The Covenant House for runaway teens was her charity of choice. She provided respite care for the Social Services Department in Vermont and later opened her home to a foster child. When Clare and her husband retired to Kent County, a friend introduced her to CASA of the Mid-Shore, where she became a Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteer.
Of her time as a CASA of the Mid-Shore volunteer, Clare says, “Sometimes simply staying connected with a child is the key to keeping their hope alive during extremely difficult times. After attending extensive meetings, going to hearings, and obtaining services that will benefit the child, it is very rewarding to see the child grow into a contributing young adult.”
CASA of the Mid-Shore is a private, non-profit organization whose mission is to provide Court Appointed Special Advocates to all children who are under court protection in Talbot, Dorchester, Queen Anne’s or Kent circuit courts due to abuse, neglect, abandonment, or their parents’ inability to safely care for them. CASA volunteers come from all walks of life, varied backgrounds and professions, and are at least 21 years of age. After completing the application and screening process, individuals participate in pre-service training before being sworn in as an officer of the court. Once appointed to a child’s case, each CASA provides assessments and recommendations to the judge regarding the best interest of his or her appointed child.
CASA volunteers search for information that might be helpful to the court by talking with parents, teachers, relatives, physicians, therapists, attorneys, social workers, and others. They work closely with agency partners. Most importantly, the CASA gets to know the child and frequently becomes one of the most consistent adults in the child’s life.
CASA of the Mid-Shore is currently accepting applications from men and women from Talbot, Dorchester, Queen Anne’s, and Kent counties who are interested in becoming CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteers. CASA welcomes volunteers from all cultures, ethnicities, and backgrounds. CASA encourages African American community members to consider becoming volunteers.