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Tammy Gorman: "Being a CASA Is My Heart's Work"

Tammy Gorman
"Tammy is always committed to what is in the child’s best interest and does not back down—not ever."

Raised in a chaotic environment marred by alcoholism and domestic violence, Tammy Gorman says she "came out alpha," a leader comfortable in the most intimidating situations. As an adult she has always felt compelled to protect and stand up for those who were powerless, especially children. 

When Tammy first heard about the CASA cause while watching an episode of the Dr. Phil Show in 2009, she knew it was for her.

As a volunteer with the Warren County CASA Program in Lebanon, OH, Tammy has helped 19 children find safe, loving homes—by asking the right questions, ensuring that judges had all the facts, and in the case of one little boy, Adam, refusing to back down.

Standing Strong for Adam

Adam had a long and terrible history of physical abuse and neglect. He was first removed from his home at the age of four, when he arrived at school with a large red hand print on his face. But as Tammy soon discovered, this was far from the first or most violent instance of abuse the little boy had suffered.

Through more than 75 hours of research, including conversation with nearly a dozen people who had long-standing relationships with Adam—preschool teachers, school administrators, the school’s physical therapist and psychologist, school bus drivers, pediatricians and previous caseworkers—Tammy uncovered a two-year history of abuse. So complex was Adam’s case that she created a 22-page report for the court. It included a two-page, color-coded Excel spreadsheet, a “timeline of abuse.” It documented prior referrals to children’s services and multiple reports of broken bones—leg, foot and arm—each with their own explanation from Adam’s parents of how the injuries had occurred.

Despite what seemed to Tammy like clear cause for permanently removing Adam from his parents’ home, his caseworker and his parents’ attorneys continued to fight to have him returned to his parents. For 12 long months, Adam remained in foster care. Every 90 days, Tammy spoke in front of the court, expressing her well-documented opinion that Adam must not be returned to an abusive home.

Finally, in July 2012, a new caseworker was assigned to Adam's case. In September 2012, based on the recommendations of Tammy and this final caseworker, the State of Ohio filed a motion to pursue permanent custody, removing Adam from his abusive parents' care and making it possible for him to remain with his foster family, who plan to adopt him.

The director of Tammy's CASA program, Malia Mumma, credits Tammy's thorough and compassionate casework with the positive outcome for little Adam, and the other 18 children she has helped find safe, permanent homes:

"Tammy’s approachable personality and tenacious commitment have enabled her to consistently uncover otherwise unknown facts about her cases. She is always committed to what is in the child’s best interest and does not back down—not ever. I have no doubt that the information Tammy uncovered changed the course of the case for Adam, and helped to ensure he has the safe, nurturing home he deserves."

In 2013, Tammy was recognized for her contributions to her community by her employer, Teradata, with its Teradata Celebration of Caring Award. Tammy was one of five employees selected from Teradata’s 10,000 employees worldwide to be honored.


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The US Department of Justice has supported CASA advocacy since 1985 through its Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
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