Every April the Northern Gila County CASA Coordinator Katrisha Stuler plans an event to recognize CASAs here in Payson. I believe it is time to recognize Katrisha and the hard work and love that she puts into her job.
CASAs are volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates for foster children. They are appointed by our Gila County Presiding Juvenile Court Judge and undergo many hours of training, background checks, etc. Our job is to become involved in a foster child’s life to the extent that we are able to report to the court what we consider to be in the best interest of the child. We look into whether or not the child or the parent(s) involved are being offered the services they need in order to re-establish a family unit and if the services are being used. Sometimes, with heavy hearts, we recognize that returning to the family is not in the best interest of the child. In order to do our job well, CASAs meet often with all parties who are involved in the child’s life — parents, foster parents, teachers, doctors, therapists, among others.
Since Katrisha became CASA coordinator, nearly five years ago, the contingent of CASAs in Payson has grown by leaps and bounds to the point where every child in the foster care system in northern Gila County who needs a CASA has one. She works tirelessly to support her CASAs, holds regular CASA support meetings, chairs Gila County’s Best for Babies and Terrific Teens programs, attends court and somehow manages to be available on a one-on-one basis with each of us when needed.
To put it briefly, Katrisha Stuler is the heart and soul of the northern Gila County CASA program and as CASAs we are all thankful for her.
Leslie Tarallo, CASA