Through no fault of their own, hundreds of Montgomery County children have suffered childhood abuse, neglect, or abandonment. Many go through years of instability by being moved from one foster care placement to another.
A child who enters the foster care system faces a number of challenges, including separation from their family and siblings, mental health and medical issues, and educational concerns. Every time a child changes foster care or group home placement, their school placement may also change, resulting in a 6 month loss of the educational progress.
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Foster children also face a lack of consistency among the professionals involved in their case. Heavy caseloads for child welfare workers and frequent case reassignments result in little time for them to develop relationships with the child. Not only do child welfare workers change, children often lack continuity among other professionals including caregivers, attorneys, teachers and therapists, and lose friends as well.
This is where a CASA Advocate can make a significant difference. Advocates monitor progress toward established goals and follow up with professionals to ensure tasks are completed in a timely manner. They make sure the child is receiving all services available to them. They advocate for sibling visitation, educational support, extracurricular activities, mental health services and much more. The CASA Advocate is often the one consistent adult for a foster child.
Advocates can be the difference between success and failure in a child’s life; they listen, encourage and guide the child. They speak up for the child. They help vulnerable children and teens reach their full potential. A child having a CASA Advocate in their life feels, sometimes for the first time, that they are cared for with no fear of being abused or neglected. They know they matter to someone.