Letter to the Editor, The Boston Globe

We’d like to thank CASA volunteer Judy Hershey for submitting this thoughtful response to the article in the April 6, 2021 edition of The Boston Globe titled “Half of DCF Children’s Visits Are Still Virtual.” This tragic situation highlights how vital the consistent presence our CASA volunteers provide during a time of isolation and uncertainty.

The tragic death of Fall River teen David Almond, while under the supervision of DCF, is nothing short of heart breaking. David’s death from abuse and neglect during the Covid 19 pandemic is the story that many in child welfare services feared reading. Reports of child abuse plummeted during the pandemic as mandated reporters transitioned to virtual visits which proved to be no substitute for in-person evaluations. The balancing act between mitigating covid risk and ensuring child safety represents an unenviable dilemma for all involved. But we must do better. The report from The Office of the Child Advocate is an excellent starting place. One of the recommendations is for the appointment of a GAL (guardian ad litem). Boston CASA (court appointed special advocate) provides trained volunteer guardians ad litem who advocate for the best interests of children under DCF supervision. CASAs interact with teachers, counselors, healthcare providers as well as the child and family and can provide the court additional insights into a child’s well-being.

Judy Hershey

Volunteer for Boston CASA

Jamaica Plain

Leave a Comment