Foster children in Northwest Georgia have been blessed with the selfless dedication of Sue Cox, Judy Wilson, and Max and Cheryl Parrott for a combined 40 years. These exceptional volunteers have shown remarkable commitment and empathy in defending the rights of foster children in Bartow and Gordon counties as Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Advocates for Children’s CASA of Northwest Georgia program.
Judy credits her own happy childhood as the catalyst for her decision to become a CASA volunteer, “I had such a good – happy – secure childhood that I would like to see the same for all kids. If I can help a few get there I will be happy.” When reflecting over their decade of service to children in foster care, the Parrotts share, “To see a child who has been returned to parents who have had the opportunity to correct their mistakes or to be placed in an adoptive home or given some sort of permanency gives great satisfaction. To see a child years later who has become a happy, successful, productive citizen gives immeasurable pleasure to us.”
Despite numerous changes over the past decade, the need for compassionate and steadfast volunteers to advocate for the rights of children in the court system has remained constant. Advocates was a much smaller organization when Sue, Judy, Max, and Cheryl first became CASA volunteers. Established in 1983, Advocates for Children began as a small organization with the goal of providing safe housing for abused and neglected children at the Flowering Branch Children’s Shelter. Today, it serves 11 counties in Northwest Georgia with eight distinct programs, including the CASA program which initially only served Bartow county but has since expanded to include Gordon county. To better meet the needs of the community, Advocates launched the $4.6 million Build Families. Protect Children. Capital Campaign in 2020, culminating in the opening of a new Prevention and Advocacy Center in Cartersville in September 2023. For the first time, all of Advocates’ prevention and advocacy programs, including CASA of Northwest Georgia, are housed under one roof.
This new center has made it easier for CASAs like Sue, Judy, and the Parrotts to advocate for foster children. Families working towards reunification can receive parenting education through the Hope in Your Home program, while the THRIVE Family Resource Center provides basic necessities for children in foster care. CASAs are also able to come together in the Ely Corporation Education Center to collaborate and share best practices. With the creation of the Prevention and Advocacy Center, Advocates for Children is better equipped to serve the community and realize their vision where every family in our community is building a life where they are safe, thriving, and loved. Sue Cox, Judy Wilson, and Max and Cheryl Parrott have dedicated themselves to making that vision a reality over the past ten years and Advocates for Children invites others to join them in Advocate’s mission to strengthen our community through education, advocacy, and prevention, empowering families to be free from child abuse. Please visit advochild.org to learn about how you can ensure a brighter future for children and families in Northwest Georgia.