CASA-roles help kids
Their voices go unheard. Their childhood is being compromised. Their mental, emotional and physical health is in desperate need of recovery. Nearly 5,400 children in Sacramento County are in the foster-care system as a result of being abused, neglected or abandoned by a parent or caregiver. In the eyes of some, these children are just a number, a burden on society. However, they are victims and not perpetrators. They are assigned an attorney and a social worker as their case proceeds through the dependency system. These advocates often are overworked and unable to spend the amount of time with each child that they would like to.
Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) programs have been established across the United States and California to train volunteers or members of the community on how to work one-on-one with foster children, helping to ensure that each child will live in a safe and loving environment with primary resources to grow up healthy and strong.
The need for a CASA in the lives of these children is vital. Forty-six percent of foster youth fail to complete high school. Foster children are more likely to end up homeless or incarcerated after leaving the system. We cannot afford to look the other way. Connect to your community by assisting a child who has been abused or neglected, and express their needs and desires to those individuals who are trying to represent their best interest in court.
Becoming a volunteer is easy and rewarding. CASA volunteers are asked to devote about 15-20 hours a month for at least one year, expected to complete a 35-hour training course, and are required to provide references and complete a criminal background check. No prior experience working within the dependency system is needed; one must only have an interest in changing the life of a child.
Over 100 young souls are on Sacramento CASA’s waiting list for an advocate. Help a child today. May is Foster Care Month and could be your opportunity to become a voice in court for a child.
For information on becoming a CASA volunteer, call (916) 875-6460 or visit our web site at www.sacramentocasa.org.