While working full-time as a Program Manager with Clark County Social Services-Ryan White Title I Program, Tyrone Thompson also works tirelessly on behalf of foster children by serving as a CASA Volunteer. Thompson is not only an asset to the CASA Program, but to numerous agencies in the Las Vegas community, which he continuously impacts. Thompson is a Volunteer Mediator with Neighborhood Justice Center and has served as a licensed foster/adoptive parent. While advocating for CASA children, Thompson also assists the CASA Program by participating on panels to share his experiences with newly trained volunteers, and occasionally serving as a “mentor” to new CASA volunteers. Thompson’s primary goal as a CASA is to help achieve permanency for CASA children. He does this by visiting the children regularly and working with social workers, foster parents and other professionals to address the children’s needs. Thompson also submits detailed court reports and appears in Court on behalf of children to make recommendations about what is in their best interest.
Over the past nine years, Thompson has advocated on behalf of seven children . Thompson has not been afraid to take on the challenging cases, which primarily involved African American adolescents and teenage boys, who also had behavior and emotional issues. Even though six of the seven CASA children have achieved permanency and have exited the system, either through Reunification with their parents or Adoption, Thompson has maintained a relationship with some of the children and the adoptive family. Thompson has also agreed to serve informally as a mentor to a 17-year-old young man who continues to remain in the system. This young man needs lots of guidance and support as he gains independent living skills and prepares to exit the foster care system.
Foster children often “slip through the cracks,” due to extremely high caseloads of social workers, which are constantly “putting out fires.” CASAs try to prevent this slippage. CASAs also fill in many gaps that occur in foster children’s lives and help to push the system to meet these children’s needs and find permanency as quickly as possible. CASAs are strong advocates, who strive to ensure that “no child leaves the system without a future plan.”
Thompson is an active child advocate, who serves as a “front line” volunteer in the fight to save foster children from being lost in an ever-changing system. The nature of a CASA Volunteer’s job requires individual who are self-starters and great time managers, especially those with very demanding F/T jobs. Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and professionalism to the volunteer arena and exhibits a positive, “can do” attitude.
An often-repeated phrase is “children are the keys to our future.” CASA’s work is like building a house, one brick (child) at a time. CASAs make a vast impact on the future lives of children by providing them with support long after they exit the system. CASAs also provide continuity in the lives of children who often have changes in social workers, foster homes and schools.