2021 New Advocate of the Year – Nominee #2

New Advocate of the Year

Nominee #2: Darlene Ortiz

2020 was not an easy year for Darlene! She joined the CASA team in February 2020 but was not appointed to her own case until January 2021 (11 months later!). Many things played a factor in that, but ultimately it was because during the start of the pandemic the number of new cases (child removals) dropped drastically. The wait, however, did not stall Darlene’s CASA journey; as she patiently awaited appointment, she was sure to keep up her in-service hours, stay involved with events, and even did some casework with a couple of the other CASAs to keep her in the loop.

Once Darlene was finally appointed to a case, she wasted no time and jumped right in. Within her first week she made sure to schedule her first visit with the child and caregiver, reached out to her supervisor regarding Optima and contact logs, and introduced herself to the CPS caseworker on the case. Darlene has since built a strong relationship with her CASA child and has ensured that the child’s needs are being met. She was awarded Advocate of the Month in March 2021 and continues to be an asset to her CASA family and to all of us at the CASA office. We are so grateful for Darlene and can’t wait to watch her learn and grow as a CASA.