The Democratic Club of Quail Creek’s ‘Women in Blue’ Support CASA

Marybeth Bates

The Democratic Club of Quail Creek’s (DCQC) Women in Blue hosted February’s monthly luncheon at the Grill on the Green, and their special guests were Amy Brandhuber (CASA of Pima County Program supervisor) and Linda Koral (Executive director of CASA Support Council for Pima County).

Are you familiar with CASA? The acronym stands for “court-appointed special advocate.” A CASA plays a crucial role in the life of a child in the foster care system. A CASA is a specially trained community volunteer appointed by a juvenile court judge to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children involved in court proceedings.

We see news stories every day of children being pulled from an abusive or neglectful situation and entering the foster care system. Unfortunately, when a child comes into foster care, their struggle is far from over.

Though the system is full of well-intentioned people, they often do not have the time to truly get to know the kids and what they need. Judges who decide the fate of these families often wish for more information.

This is where a CASA advocate steps in. CASA advocates are appointed to serve on one case at a time. They become experts on that case by visiting with the children, reviewing records, and interviewing those involved. All the information they gather goes directly to the judge so that a decision can be made in the child’s best interest.

Amy Brandhuber has been supervisor of CASA since September 2017. Before her work with CASA, she was an investigator and a supervisor for the Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS) for more than 13 years. Amy’s over 20 years of work in the child welfare system have fueled her passion for child advocacy and drives her work with the CASA volunteers to advocate for the best interest of children in foster care.

Linda Koral became a CASA in the CASA of Pima County Program, advocating for cases with multiple siblings. In 2010, while still a CASA, Linda was elected to the board of directors of the CASA Support Council for Pima County, Inc (CSCPC). On the board, Linda initiated a tutoring program for CASA children and assisted with other programs. In 2020 she was appointed executive director to manage all programs and staff. Her goal is to have the Support Council meet the myriad unmet needs of the foster children we serve in Pima County. Prior to her work in CASA, Linda enjoyed a challenging management career with AT&T in California.

The Women in Blue had put out the word that the luncheon would be an opportunity to support CASA with gifts for the CASA kids. And they didn’t disappoint.