From Cuddler to CASA

I have lost count of the number of times someone has told me that they really want to be involvd in foster care, and they really care about foster youth,  but they are not in a season of life where they can be foster parents. They wonder how they can help.

How can you make a difference in the life of a foster youth without being a foster parent?

There are a number of ways to answer that question, and my guest in Episode 17 of A Fostered Life Podcast talks about two of them. Laura was a volunteer cuddler in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for years before being introduced to a desperate need in the foster care system after caring for one particular baby for several months. She went through the training and eventually became a CASA – a Court Appointed Special Advocate.

Over the six-plus years Laura has spent as a CASA, she has served over twenty-three children, and in today’s episode, she’s going to share what that experience has been like and what you might expect if you are considering becoming a CASA.

I am so grateful for the work that Laura and others have done and I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did!


I am often asked about how a person can be involved with foster care without becoming a foster parent. There are so many ways, and today I’m sharing one that you might never have heard of or thought of before.

Have you ever heard of “cuddlers?”

Hospital cuddlers are beautiful people who volunteer to sit in the NICU or PICU and hold babies as they are going through withdrawal. 

A baby is not placed into foster care until he or she is released from the hospital, so while they are going through withdrawal, if their parents are unable to visit them, or even if they visit for a few hours a day, they do not get held nearly enough. The sad part is, babies who are going through withdrawal need to be held even more than a healthy baby. Being held, cuddled, and rocked can help to soothe their pain during withdrawal and speed up the process of coming through.

It is impossible to express the value of their service to these little ones who are, as one friend put it, “in a world of hurt.”

Watch my latest video on A Fostered Life to hear more about this remarkable opportunity to make a huge difference in a baby’s life!