Linda Stambaugh | 2022 National Crime Victims' Service Awards
Linda Stambaugh is a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for the Fourth Circuit Court of South Dakota. A champion for children who have been abused and neglected, Ms. Stambaugh was appointed to her first case 9 days after completing her pre-service training. The case involved four siblings, between the ages of 2−6, who had been neglected by their biological parents. Ms. Stambaugh went above and beyond her volunteer advocate role during the 1.5 years the case was open. Her steadfast dedication helped stop the cycle of child abuse and neglect for these four children and set them on a path where they can safely heal and grow.
Linda Stambaugh received the Volunteer for Victims Award. Visit the OVC Gallery for more information about her work to support victims of crime.
LINDA STAMBAUGH: Not everyone understands that children who are abused and neglected are victims of crime; but they absolutely are. The first case I had as a CASA was very difficult, but it had a very happy ending. I was able to help my kids reclaim their childhood. And in the end, all four were adopted together. My children blossomed when they found a safe home.
I'm ready to go meet the kids and to be their advocate. Thank you.
KATE KELLEY: Linda embodies everything that we would hope for in a CASA. She, she's very dedicated and committed to the children.
LINDA STAMBAUGH: We spend so much time with them, getting to know their situation, their needs.
PAULA CULVER: Hello, guys! How was school?
The importance of a CASA worker is being a voice for the children. And not only are they the voice for the children, but they are really the eyes and ears of the judge.
Hey, guys, I have somebody really special I'd like you to meet!
LINDA STAMBAUGH: Hello! What's your name?
GIRL: I'm Torrin.
LINDA STAMBAUGH: Torrin. I'm Miss Linda.
BOY: I'm August.
LINDA STAMBAUGH: August. Nice to meet you August.
KATE KELLEY: Having that one person in their life who is stable, who is dedicated to them, who they can count on, makes all the difference to these children.
LINDA STAMBAUGH: "CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate," said Joan. That's a long name, isn't it? That's what I'm going to be for you. Your Court Appointed…
If they can heal from their trauma, they are not going to pass that on to the next generation. Something that is important as a CASA volunteer is to share your experiences that you have had as a CASA with new volunteers who are just coming into the program.
JUDGE: Your role is critical, as it not only assists the court, but more importantly, provides a voice to children who are so vulnerable.
LINDA STAMBAUGH: I would encourage anyone who has ever even considered being a CASA volunteer to reach out to their local office and get more information, because children need you. I am most proud as a CASA volunteer of the courage and resilience that the children show. They're the real heroes.
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