She says the most important aspect of her role is to make sure everything that happens on a case is in the best interest of the children, that their needs are being served, and that they are permanently placed in a safe, nurturing environment.
“I’ve been honored to be a part of the healing that takes place when children know they are safe and loved.” says Marilyn. “I’ve seen foster families become forever families and I’ve seen broken biological families come together after receiving the services they needed to function at a higher level than they ever could have on their own.”
One case in particular is very special to Marilyn. As the CASA assigned to the case of a little boy named Dakota, Marilyn represented his best interest for two years until he was returned home and the case was closed. Although she was no longer his advocate, Marilyn continued to visit Dakota and quickly became aware when his situation deteriorated yet again, this time with bouts of homelessness and moves in and out of foster care. She knew it was time to act.
Marilyn and her husband began the process to become foster parents. By the time Dakota was placed in foster care with the Bardash family, he was hungry, underweight, filthy and terrified. Eventually the biological parents’ rights were terminated and Dakota was permanently adopted into the Bardash family.
It’s been a long road, but Dakota has come a long way in his healing with the love and care of the Bardash family. He is now happy and healthy. Marilyn says he has a great personality and sense of humor, and is very active. “I am amazed at how he continues to conquer head on many of the fears he still has due to his trauma,” said Marilyn. “He is one of the strongest, bravest kids I have ever known.”
Along with being a busy mom, Marilyn is in a leadership role with CASA as a Peer Coordinator which means she draws upon her own experience and expertise to mentor and coach newer advocates.
You too can make a difference for abused and neglected children in Colorado Springs. Click here to learn more about becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate.