Living Life: Help a Foster Child, Become a CASA

By Dianne Smith
Reader Columnist

Foster children experience a journey like no other. They are often placed in the homes of strangers where they are left to figure out all the unwritten rules and norms of that family system as well as wonder about their future.

To help guide and support them and to be their voice are CASA or Court Appointed Special Advocates.

Bonner and Boundary County are in need of 20 new CASAs to provide support for those newly entering the system. As the opioid crisis gets worse, and children are left without adults to care for them, the need will continue to grow.

Dianne Smith.


Studies on resiliency show that just one significant adult can make all the difference in the life of a child, and studies on volunteerism show that by volunteering you extend your life and increase your contentment with life. So being a CASA is a win-win: a win for you and win for the child.

The next training begins in September and no special experience is required. You receive all the training you need, and then are assigned a mentor who helps you with your first case. You will visit with your child and learn what they want. You will meet with the family also so you can make recommendations for your child about what is in their best interest. You develop a significant relationship with that child so that they know you are their support system during a very difficult time.

Sound interesting and like something you might want to do? Do you have the time to give and would like more information? Call or email Jan Rust, Advocate Trainer at 509-879-1793 or and she will gladly answer any questions.

We are so blessed to have so many great nonprofits in the area and so many wonderful ways to give back and help continue to make this an awesome place to live and raise children. Foster children are part of our future and need that extra support that CASAs can provide.

Dianne Smith, LMFT, is a licensed therapist who has offices in both Sandpoint and Bonners Ferry. She can be reached at

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