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Debbie Sigers

My name is Debbie D. Sigers, and my family moved to Louisiana in 1994. I am recently retired from the City of Baton Rouge. My career was in human resources because I have always had a passion for helping others, especially those who are unrepresented.

I first heard about CASA while attending a neighborhood meeting. A CASA representative presented an overview of the program and as she described the mission of CASA, I knew I wanted to get involved. My journey with CASA started June 2005; over 15 years later I am currently working on my 11th case. Working as a CASA volunteer has challenges and rewards. One of my greatest challenges was learning to meet people where they are and to remain objective in evaluating the circumstances that brought them to the attention of the agency. With that lesson learned, I was able to successfully advocate on a case involving a 15-year-old girl with a baby. There were three generations of women living in the same home. As I began to interact with the family, I became very aware of how much of a struggle it was for them trying to cope with and navigate life. The baby was eventually reunited with the young mother, and I was able to make a home visit. I have always wondered about the baby’s future and how the family is doing now.

Most of my cases have been with children under three years old who needed a voice to speak for them. As each case progressed, I realized the importance of my role to the children I represented. I am truly their advocate since they have no voice. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to monitor parents as they worked their case plan. I have had the opportunity to advocate for an abandoned baby who found a safe and permanent home. Also, I have had the privilege to be a part of successful family reunifications as well as successful adoptions. Every one of the children I advocated for are valuable and deserving of love and care.

My current case involves a newborn who was brought into foster care when he was a month old because of his parents’ pervasive drug abuse and their inability to provide a safe place for him. He was placed with his paternal grandparents and recently his biological parents surrendered their rights freeing him for adoption. Mark* is a happy one year old who has bonded well with his grandparents. The caregivers have made sure that Mark is receiving services to assist him in overcoming issues caused by his mother’s drug use during her pregnancy. This case was perhaps my most challenging due to having to advocate virtually this past year because of COVID-19. Trying to establish a rapport with the child and caregiver was difficult. Fortunately, the caregiver was receptive to my virtual visits and always let me see Mark’s progress in his development as she provided me with updates.

It is extremely rewarding for me to watch a child move through the system and finally find that permanent, safe space. Then to take a step back and realize I helped t

o make this happen is indescribable. The future is brighter for a child when CASA is on their team. My philosophy has been that children are our future and deserve a chance at success and healthy home lives. It has been a privilege to be a CASA Advocate for the past 15 years.

Written by Debbie Sigers, CASA Volunteer

*Name changed for confidentiality purposes


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