Community Gem: Terri Carter to children, ‘I’m not leaving you’

MIAMISBURG — As a Court Appointed Special Advocate, Terri Carter said she can give children something they might not have.

A safety net. A listening ear. Love.

“This is probably one of the biggest, most profound things I’ve done in my life,” said Carter, 67, of Miamisburg.

During the 19 years she has been a CASA volunteer, Carter has been appointed by the Montgomery County Juvenile Court to advocate for more than 100 children who have been abused, neglected, delinquent or who otherwise need help. Every case is different, but the one thing that doesn’t change is Carter’s devotion. She is the constant, even when kids change foster homes or case workers.

Carter was nominated as a Dayton Daily News Community Gem by Leslie Loper and Pamela Chambers, who say that Carter goes above and beyond as she advocates for children, even learning basic sign language so she could better communicate.

“She has made a difference in the lives of children who might have been lost in the system,” said Loper, of Kettering, who was a CASA with Carter.

Carter said that one teenager wrote that Carter was the only person who loved her. Another time, Carter visited a baby in the hospital every day after she learned the child was receiving no visitors.

After years as a stay-at-home mom, Carter became a CASA as both of her sons were finishing college. She and her husband, Bill, also have 15 grandchildren, four of whom help her train new volunteers.

Carter, who was named the Ohio CASA Volunteer of the Year in 2018, travels throughout the state as an advocate and is currently working with eight children from five families. Some kids she is assigned to for months, others for years.

“My promise to them: Until we have some place permanent for you, I’m not leaving you,” she said.

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