Ellen Krawczak – Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)
DUTIES: Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA’s) are trained to advocate for children in the child welfare system. A CASA develops a relationship with the child he/she advocates for and follows the child’s case to ensure the child receives needed services. The goal is seeing the child placed in a safe, permanent home.
PERSONAL BACKGROUND: Ellen moved to Ocean Pines when she retired. She had been a paralegal in New York but went back to school when she moved to Maryland to get her teaching certification. She had previously been a mentor to underprivileged children in NYC where she lived for many years.
BEST PART OF YOUR VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE: Shortly after moving to Ocean Pines, Ellen started looking for volunteer opportunities in Worcester County. She found that being a CASA married her love for children with her interest in the law. She feels that there are so many good things about being a CASA. She learns all the time from the CASA’s that she meets and shares a case with. She also enjoys her continuing education. She learns how resilient some children are. She says that it is so rewarding to feel that you actually make a difference in a child’s life.
BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU HAVE FACED: Ellen states that her biggest challenge was working with a hostile grandparent who had temporary custody of his three grandchildren. He was a caring grandparent but was always afraid that the children would be taken from him. He was intimidating to Ellen and did not like having a CASA make site visits. Ellen was able to make many of the site visits with the social worker, which eased the grandparent’s hostility.
WHAT YOU WOULD LIKE OTHERS TO KNOW: Ellen feels that we are lucky to be in a county that has so many services and caring professionals. She thinks that learning from the staff and from other CASA’s makes all of us better CASA’s. Ellen said, “I can’t think of anything more rewarding than making a difference in a child’s life.”
PROGRAM STAFF STATEMENT ABOUT ELLEN: Ellen has advocated tirelessly for area children for more than eight years. She is one of the most dedicated and reliable volunteers to ever participate in the Lower Shore CASA program. Ellen is strategic and thorough with her approach to all cases. She is both compassionate and no-nonsense when it comes to fulfilling her duties and advocating for the best interests of the children she serves. Staff can always count on Ellen to actively engage with trainings and reporting. She has often gone above and beyond in her role and most recently even took on advocating for three different children at once. We know we are fortunate to have Ellen as a team member!
WYF’S CASA is currently accepting applications for new volunteers. Please contact Angie Manos, firstname.lastname@example.org.