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VISIONS '24 Unsung Hero: Lindsay Dycus
​​Amplifying children’s voices
The one person who is going to be consistent in that process is CASA.
Lindsay Dycus

Child advocacy is at the foundation of what Lindsay Dycus strives for in her role as the Alcovy Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) executive director.

As a member of Alcovy CASA since 2008, the aim has always been constant for Dycus.

“Our mission is to use community volunteers from everyday walks of life to train them and support them for advocating for children who are in foster care in Newton and Walton county,” Dycus said.

Those volunteers and the staff found at Alcovy CASA are who Dycus sees as her unsung heroes.

“Our CASA volunteers are really the unsung heroes. They are the ones that are going and visiting and supporting in every way,” Dycus said. “We have a board of directors who are incredible. They all have a passion for children and are all invested in the commuity,” Dycus said.

Dycus grew up in the Conyers area, and attended Heritage High School. She then earned a psychology degree from Georgia College and State University. 

Following her graduation, Dycus began her journey into helping children — a field she was unfamiliar with beforehand.

“My first ‘big girl job’ out of college was working at the Methodist Children’s home and Versailles, Kentucky. They decided it would be a great plan to put my 22-year-old, freshly graduated out of college-self into [helping] behavior disorder teenage boys in a cottage and saying ‘Good luck,’” Dycus said. “That was an amazing experience that opened my eyes to a world outside to anything I had ever known. It was really what shaped me to stay in this work.”

Looking back, her time spent with the children in the cottage played a pivotal role in her future efforts.

“That was really the defining moment of knowing that I would work in children welfare but I would do better than what I was seeing those kids be treated as,” Dycus said.

Dycus eventually moved back to the Newton County area, which led her to Alcovy CASA.

When she first began with Alcovy CASA, Dycus was the Newton County Advocacy Coordinator. In that role, Dycus was in charge of training the volunteers in the program.

“A lot of the beauty of the CASA volunteers is that they don’t come from the background of child welfare, so they bring a common sense approach,” Dycus said. “We offer all of the training for free and the support for free. Because these folks don’t have that background, we offer a lot of support.”

Dycus decided to step away from her role to become a stay-at-home mom, but still stuck on as a Alcovy CASA volunteer in three cases.

“About the time those cases ended, I got a phone call from our juvenile court judge at the time saying the previous CASA director was retiring and the board has reached out to her and asked if she knew anyone that she would want to be the director. So, she called [and said], ‘Do you want to come back?’” Dycus said.

Dycus, who was already looking to get back into the field, jumped at the opportunity. In 2014, she became the executive director.

From when she was the advocacy coordinator to now being the executive director, one constant for Dycus and Alcovy CASA — the strive to be consistent.

“When a child comes into care — in a matter of an instant — they are in a different home, with different adults, with different rules. Frequently, that means a different school, different daycare situation, they are going to a doctor they have probably never been to before,” Dycus said. “It might be their first time ever going to the dentist. They now have counselors, they are in court. There are a lot of new things.

“The one person who is going to be consistent in that process is CASA.”

For Dycus, the favorite moments in her job come when the best possible scenarios happen for the children they work with.

“Seeing those moments where everyone can come together and agree,” Dycus said. “Seeing a family reunited, you always hold your breath — you want it to work, you want that child to safely go home with those parents to parent their child. But, being there when the judge gives the order, custody is returned, you can go back to being a family.’ Those are some of the best moments.”

More importantly for Dycus is the goal of making sure the chidrens’ voices are heard.

“The perception that we are trying to give kids consistency and support,” Dycus said. “We want to make sure their voice is amplified in what we are doing.”