This year marks Liz Betz's 25th leading Capital Area Court Appointed Special Advocates, which recruits, trains and supervises community volunteers who advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected youngsters living in foster care.
When did you start at CASA, and what was the organization like at the time?
I started in January 1993. CASA was still very new in East Baton Rouge Parish. It was just me, a part-time student worker and a very steep learning curve. Twelve volunteers were advocating for 22 abused children placed in foster care, and we operated out of a one-room office.
How have things changed over the past 25 years?
Since that time, more than 1,200 CASA volunteers have provided a voice for more than 2,800 abused children. We now have a staff of 10 and a bigger office, but the need for new CASA volunteers continues.
What do you think is your greatest achievement at CASA?
Building the infrastructure to support CASA’s growth. Growing the program to serve every child who needs an advocate. Building collaborative relationships with foster care professionals. Educating the community of CASA’s mission so it's are aware of, and values, what we do. Our accomplishments were possible because of many, many dedicated people — staff, board and volunteers — who have supported CASA through the years.
Where do you see yourself in five years? How about CASA?
Still promoting CASA but maybe part time! CASA will still be making a difference for abused children in foster care.
What do you do for fun, to relax?
I love to travel, to explore new places or relax on a beach somewhere. I have a big yard and love to work in my gardens. Spending time with friends and family is the best, especially with the addition of two little granddaughters.