THE June ADVOCATE OF THE MONTH IS:
Please help us congratulate the Advocate of the Month for June, Lesley Knappen! Lesley has been an advocate since April of 2022 and is assigned to her first case. She is the advocate to a teenage boy who is experiencing an inordinate number of unhappy circumstances. Since October, he has been in CWOP twice (Child Without Placement), a Residential Treatment Center, juvenile detention, and hospitalized twice. This young man has no family, not even a foster family. His closest connections are to his caseworker and his advocate. Thankfully, his advocate, our very own Lesley Knappen, is 100% committed to him! Every time he is moved, Lesley immediately makes a visit so he knows that she has not forgotten him. She ensures he is receiving the services he needs, that his belongings have been sent with him, and that he is safe and cared for. Each month, Lesley either calls this young man, visits him, or attempts to visit nearly every week. She attends important educational meetings, CPS court, and even juvenile court. She stays in close contact with her CASA supervisor, the child’s caseworker, and the child’s attorney. Lesley connects with this kiddo in a way that could be difficult for others to accomplish. His behavior is such that many people would be frustrated and inclined to lecture or reprimand. Instead, Lesley is a confidant, a safe person who listens and understands. Because she has established herself as someone he can trust, she is able to gently discuss difficult issues, such as his self-destructive behavior. This case reminds us how crucial a role our CASAs play in the lives of these children. If not for his advocate, this child would easily “fall through the cracks.” Thank you, Lesley, for the essential work you do on this young man’s behalf. You are a shining example of an advocate who goes above and beyond!