New ADVOCATE OF THE YEAR
NOMINEE #3: Laurie Munoz
Since the day Laurie was assigned her case as a new advocate, she was ready to get started and meet with her supervisor to learn what she needed to do. That was just over a year ago, and she has carried that same drive with her ever since. In the two different families she has worked with, Laurie has served five children ranging from toddlers to a teenagers.
Laurie’s first and second cases were unique and challenging, which fueled her to dig in more, to learn more, and to push to be the best advocate for her CASA child that she could be.
During her first case, the judge asked CASA and CPS to make two visits to the parents’ home every week with the children. This is most definitely above the usual visit requirement on a case, especially for a brand-new advocate. But because of the circumstances of the case the Judge felt it necessary. Laurie never once complained about the new expectation, and no matter what has been throw at Laurie on either case, she has never complained and has worked hard to not only meet CASA standards but to go above and beyond.
In her second case, Laurie is working with a teenage girl. While working with teenagers can be scary to some due to the different set of issues that they present, these new challenges only pushed Laurie to do more. She calls her youth at least weekly and visits in person every month even though the child is placed far away. Laurie has worked to develop a close relationship with her CASA child and has publicly praised the young lady in court. Anytime her child has a need arise, whether it is a physical need or emotional support need, Laurie ensures that these needs are met either by herself or another party; she will keep making contacts to ensure that the needs do not go unmet. When this young lady was diagnosed with COVID, she wanted the comfort of talking to her grandmother on the phone. Laurie called and emailed the parties multiple times to achieve this goal and to ensure the child got the support she needed.
Alongside all of this, Laurie is a common visitor to the CASA office to meet with her supervisor, attend in-services, and support the CASA program by being part of committees and making lunches for trainings. Because Laurie’s cases call for some extra work, she attends court nearly every month and is always recording her contact logs in a timely manner. Laurie has such a caring heart and is a huge support for her CASA child. We are so grateful for her and all she does for the families she works with!