It was 1993 when Fred Hurwitz became aware of national statistics surrounding child abuse and neglect. Knowing he had to do something to support victimized children in his area, he began his search for a volunteer role where he could utilize his skills to make a substantial contribution. He came across a relatively new organization in New Hampshire called CASA and 25 years later he is still advocating for our state’s most vulnerable children.
Fred has served as a volunteer advocate for 18 children from 10 different families. His case experiences have allowed him to witness successful adoptions, reunifications and assist in providing teens who are aging out of the foster care system with important skills for adulthood. When you ask Fred why he continues to serve as a CASA volunteer advocate after 25 years, he says it is simply because he knows he is making a difference.
“CASA volunteer advocates know the children better than anyone else on the case,” Fred says.
“You stay with the children through the length of a case, and that is powerful.”
Fred speaks of his advocacy with pride and dedication for the children he has served. “When you do good work, the judges listen. You are influential,” he says.
As Fred speaks to new potential CASA volunteer advocates, he ensures that they know they will have the proper training and support to successfully be an advocate.
“Everything that you learn in the initial 40-hour training is reinforced throughout the length of your case,” Fred says.
Becoming a CASA volunteer advocate does take a fair amount of organization. When attending court hearings and meetings, Fred is sure to take notes and later expand on them in his court reports. His notes allow him to quickly refresh what has been happening on the case and cite easily to the judge which matters he feels are most important to communicate.
Throughout his 25 years, Fred has always maintained a full-time job. He says that while it takes planning, the time commitment of his advocacy can be very flexible.
“If you are prepared in court with a calendar, you can easily manage your schedule,” Fred says.
As Fred meets new potential CASA volunteer advocates and discusses how he has made an impact, he shares truthfully about his experience.
“Very few outcomes are perfect. You have to have the personality of ‘I know that I have improved the circumstances of the child,’” Fred says.
Reflecting on his prior cases, Fred talks about his most rewarding case involving a young sibling who suffered from abuse. Fred was there as the child made an incredible recovery after a severe trauma and began to flourish in her pre-adoptive home. With strength, resiliency and her CASA Fred by her side, this child was united with her new forever family for a safe, permanent future.
While Fred’s 25-years-and-counting commitment to CASA is a somewhat unique example, his compassionate and dedicated advocacy for New Hampshire’s children is similar to others. Whether CASA volunteer advocates take one case or ten before moving on, they all wish to make a profound difference in the life of a child. Their continuous, professional advocacy is crucial in CASA’s mission of reaching 100% of our state’s abused and neglected children. As a CASA volunteer advocate, every case that you will encounter will be different, but you will always be making a difference in the life of a victimized child.