The minute Janette Kellmer heard about CASA – which was at a Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey game – she knew that this was her volunteer opportunity.
So she signed up for training and was alarmed at the statistics plaguing children in the foster care system.
There are currently 440 children in foster care placement in Luzerne County because of abuse and neglect. Our goal is to provide a court appointed special advocate for each of those children. Someone who will be there for them. Who will speak up for what is in their best interest and help them to find a safe, loving, stable, permanent home.
Once Janette learned of the need for CASA volunteers, she knew she could not turn her back on the children for whom she advocates.
Janette was sworn-in as a court appointed special advocate in January of this year. Her case is difficult and complicated, but she’s been working hard to ensure the well-being of the children she’s working with.
“The most important thing to me in this case is making sure my kiddos are safe from neglect and abuse,” she said. “Their young lives haven’t been easy.”
Because of the number of children and the work involved, Janette shares her case with another CASA volunteer which allows each of them to be as dedicated to the children as possible.
That dedication is noticed and appreciated by foster parents Adam and Sara.
“These kids have been in and out of care for four years now,” Adam said. “Janette is the first person we’ve had who’s come forward to advocate for the kids. It’s really great to have somebody who’s not worried about this or that – she’s just there to look out for the kids. She really does a great job.”
Shannon Joyce, Janette’s advocate coordinator, has only positive things to say about Janette’s work as well.
“Janette has been a pleasure to work with,” Shannon said. “She has dedication that is so apparent in the relationships she has developed with her kiddos and all parties in this case. Janette has tenacity and passion for the work she is doing.”
In addition to her hard work on her case, Janette also feels strongly about getting CASA’s message out into the community.
“I wish potential advocates knew how many children are in need locally,” she said. “The needs of the children CASA helps are complex. Yet you can be the one bright spot in their life, there just to see them, listen to them, or read to them.”
If you want to join Janette in this mission, we’d love to hear from you. Please call us at (570) 855-2247 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Janette lives in Mountain Top with her husband David, their daughter Kylie, and their rescue dog, Zoltan the Great.