A former contestant from “The Bachelor” recently shared a big step she was taking to help at-risk children in her community. Bekah Martinez, who was on Arie Luyendyk’s season of “The Bachelor,” told her social media followers she was very close to having an official role in advocating for a child in foster care.
Here’s what you need to know:
Martinez Was Waiting on a Court Appointment
Us Weekly detailed a now-expired Instagram story Martinez shared about her new project. “I haven’t updated y’all but I [was] sworn in for CASA during my Oregon trip and I’m in the process of getting paired with a foster youth!” She added, “Waiting on official court appointment order, and in the meantime I have to look over all the child’s documents and history with DCFS. Not a light task.”
While some outlets and fans took this to mean Martinez was becoming a foster parent, that’s not quite the situation. Rather, a CASA, or a Court-Appointed Special Advocate, is a trained volunteer who advocates for children in foster care. As the CASA GAL site details, a judge appoints a CASA volunteer to a specific child’s legal case. The CASA advocates specifically for that child, and what is in that child’s best interest.
A CASA volunteer connects with a child’s legal team, child welfare workers, service providers, and educators so they can make sure all relevant information about a child’s case gets to the judge. The CASA meets regularly with the child for visits, monitors how they are doing, and advocates for the child in court to ensure they receive the services and placement that is best for them. Sometimes children are assigned a guardian ad litem, which is a similar role. As ChildWelfare.gov notes, however, some guardian ad litems are paid attorneys, whereas CASAs are always trained volunteers.
She Has Previously Talked About Becoming a Foster Parent
From the sounds of Martinez’s previous Instagram story, it seems she has been matched with a child and is currently reviewing the child’s case and history. Once the court officially appoints her, she can dig in and start advocating. In another recent Instagram story, as noted by Us Weekly, Martinez shared she was “Working on my CASA case on the beach.” She wore a hat embroidered with “CHILL AF” on it, and she joked, “Found this hat in my car and it’s very ironic because I couldn’t be less chill today.”
In December 2020, Martinez told Us Weekly she had an interest in becoming a foster parent. “The Bachelor” star and her fiance, Grayson Leonard, are currently raising their daughter, Ruth, born in 2019, and their son, Franklin, born in July 2020. She explained she is “so open for more” kids, but had determined that for now, “My body needs a break.” Instead, she noted, “we’ve been talking about exploring the option of fostering so that we can be a home for other children, even if it’s just temporarily.” Martinez may still hope to become a foster parent down the road, but for now, she’s focused on the CASA option and it seems she’s quite eager to get started.