Remembering Deborah Reese

Working with or on behalf of children is a calling that some people feel deep inside. According to those who worked with Deborah Reese, there was no doubt she was one of those people. Described as fierce and feisty in her determination, she worked tirelessly to advocate for children in foster care to provide them permanent homes and a sense of belonging. When she passed away June 25, 2017, she left behind a legacy of advocacy for children, heartbroken friends and family, and a tradition of hard work that will be remembered in this community.

Known around the community as Reese, she spent 10 years with the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) before accepting her role at Advocates for Children in 2003 as an advocacy coordinator in the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program.

According to Tina Brush, one of many volunteers who met Reese through the CASA program, “Reese will always live on through the lives of the children who are now in loving, caring homes with parents who will make sure they have a chance to succeed in their lives. There are so many people who are better off because of Reese.”

While her title was advocacy coordinator, her passion for helping children was more than just a job. She was honest and straightforward with both the child and the caregiver, making sure they had a realistic picture of the facts and expectations for the court process.  “Reese could be like a dog with a bone,” said Advocates for Children’s CASA Director Ava Lipscomb. “She was a tiny person, but she was a very strong-minded person with a huge heart for children.”

Retired Bartow County Juvenile Court Judge Velma Tilley said it was always a comfort knowing that Reese was working for children in the court system. “Reese took the best interest of the children seriously,” Tilley said. “She was not concerned about hurting anyone’s feelings when she was trying to get something done on behalf of a child. She was a great and respectful colleague of the Court. She always made her concerns known and sought what was best for the child.”

Reese’s friends and colleagues at Advocates for Children will remember the loyal, fearless, and determined woman who touched so many lives. Lipscomb, who supervised Reese in her role at Advocates for Children, said, “She is one of the best people I will ever know and we miss her every day.”

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