We Can’t Prevent Child Abuse…Yet…But We Can Do Something About It
Every day in this country, 1,900 CHILDREN are victims of abuse or neglect. Four of them will die. How can you do something to help?
Become a CASA Volunteer.
What is a CASA? It stands for “Court Appointed Special Advocate”.
What does it take to become a CASA Advocate? First and foremost, CASA volunteers need to be passionately dedicated to helping abused or neglected children in a very difficult time of need. Being an Advocate is not only a commitment of time and effort, but also a commitment of the heart.
A CASA Volunteer is the tireless and ardent protector of a child going through the trauma of the foster care system. He or she is trained, appointed by the court, and committed to ensuring each individual child’s needs are a priority in an over-burdened child welfare system.
When a CASA Advocate is assigned a child’s case, he or she is given unparalleled authority to investigate the conditions that child faces. CASA Volunteers talk with a child’s parents, teachers, doctors and therapists. Advocates always consider the child’s best interests. He or she investigates the facts of the case and accurately communicates the child’s conditions to the presiding judge. An Advocate’s goal is to make the child’s experience in the court system as safe, efficient and timely as possible.
Volunteers remain with children until they are placed in loving permanent homes. For many abused children, his or her CASA Volunteer is the only constant adult presence in their lives. So, an Advocate has the opportunity to serve as a positive role model for a child as well.
CASA Advocates make a difference in a rewarding way. Children with a CASA Volunteer are more likely to be adopted, half as probable to re-enter foster care, and substantially less likely to spend time in long-term foster care. Children with a CASA Volunteer do better in school. CASA Advocates reduce the need for attorney time. They are very effective in having their recommendations recognized by the court. A CASA Advocate serves as the “eyes and ears” for the judge.
Here is one young man’s story to help you understand the value of a CASA Volunteer:
“As a boy, my three sisters and I suffered just about every form of abuse you can imagine—emotional and physical attacks by my mother, later sexual abuse by her and her boyfriend. When I was 13 years old, we were all removed from our home. After that, I bounced around, from a children’s emergency shelter to an aunt’s house, then back to the shelter. There was so much I did not know about the foster care system. Without knowledge or the power to speak up, I felt like a victim.
A year and a half later, I met my CASA Volunteer, Robert. And everything changed.
Bob (name changed) taught me how to communicate, how to represent myself and my needs. He helped me understand what was happening in court and taught me how to stand up for myself.”
This touching story was taken from the National CASA website. If you would like to read other such stories proving the effectiveness of being a CASA, please click on this link.
While 238,000 children have a CASA volunteer to ensure their voices are heard and needs are met. Another 400,000 go it alone. You can make a difference for a maltreated child. Please consider helping find a safe and permanent home for an abused or neglected child.