Did You Know That You Can Help Children in Foster Care?

Have you heard of CASA for Children?  Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (in the United States).  These are the people who can really make a difference for children in foster care.  And guess what?  It’s probable that even you have the credentials to become an advocate and completely change someone else’s life.

According to the CASA website:

Exactly what does a CASA volunteer do?

CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in court and other settings. The primary responsibilities of a CASA volunteer are to:

  • Gather information: Review documents and records, interview the children, family members and professionals in their lives.
  • Document findings: Provide written reports at court hearings.
  • Appear in court: Advocate for the child’s best interests and provide testimony when necessary.
  • Explain what is going on: Help the child understand the court proceedings.
  • “Be the glue”: Seek cooperative solutions among individuals and organizations involved in the children’s lives. As one volunteer said:Be the glue that connects the pieces in a complicated child welfare system.
  • Recommend services: Ensure that the children and their family are receiving appropriate services and advocate for those that are not immediately available. Bring concerns about the child’s health, education, mental health, etc. to the appropriate professionals.
  • Monitor case plans and court orders: Check to see that plans are being followed and mandated review hearings are being held.
  • Keep the court informed:  Update the court on developments with agencies and family members. Ensure that appropriate motions are filed on behalf of the child so the court knows about any changes in the child’s situation.

These are the requirements to be a volunteer

(see, we said that you could do it)

Requirements include:

  • Be 21 years old
  • Be willing to complete necessary background checks, provide references and participate in an interview
  • Complete a minimum of 30 hours of pre-service training
  • Be available for court appearances, with advance notice
  • Be willing to commit to the CASA program until your first case is closed

And after that case is closed, imagine that feeling of happiness for helping a child in need.

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