Thursday, November 18, 2004

Blogging in bed!

Thursday morning. Don't let the title fool you, nothing about this morning is sexy. I'm tired, I've got Kleenex stuffed up my nose, and I've been checking work e-mail for over an hour now (120 messages since yesterday afternoon). The cats are both curled up here next to me, which is nice, and I wish I could sleep, too. I might have gotten a few hours last night, but nothing deep and refreshing - it was the desperate sleep that comes only after you've tossed and turned and moaned pitifully for hours. Ugh.

On to more exciting topics, though. Yesterday morning, through a haze of Claritin and Kleenex, I sat through the morning session of one of San Diego's Family Court sections. This is not like you see on "Judging Amy" or "LA Law" or whatever TV program you might watch, most of which show the legal system at it's most dynamic and sexy. This was a set of (approximately) seven lawyers that shuffled in and out as cases were called, representing the minors, the mothers, the fathers, and the social workers. Voluminous files were piled along the railing between the gallery where I sat and the courtroom itself and each lawyer had a different pile. I have no idea how they could keep their many clients straight and was very impressed by the fact that they had fairly detailed knowledge of some very complicated cases, especially given that they blasted through probably 25 cases in three hours. Most impressive for me were the three women who were filling the role that I will (one day very soon) be filling: Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). As a matter of fact, I was officially sworn in just before going in to observe, which was, quite possibly, one of the most exciting moments of my life. Really. Truly. Right up there with my wedding day and the day I bought my first car for myself. In any case, these three ladies knew their cases inside and out and contributed substantively to each of the proceedings they were a part of. One of the CASAs was even responsible for getting a case continued because the minor had been erroneously told by the social worker that there was no need for her to attend, although she very much wanted to be there, so no provision was made for transportation and she wasn't in court. The CASA knew that the minor wanted to be present and made that known to the court, resulting in all of the parties involved (county counsel, social worker, alternate public defender, CASA, judge, minor's mother, and counsel for both parents) having to reschedule and make provisions to get the minor to court in a few weeks. I am in awe of everyone that works within that system, for their dedication to children and families and getting the best outcome for everyone involved with too few resourced and too many families in need. I can't wait to get started!

Would someone be kind enough to run out and get me more Kleenex?

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