At any one time, there are 100 or so children who are under the jurisdiction of our local court, 100 or so whose foundations have crumbled and whose innocence is gone. In foster homes, in group homes, with grandparents, they have all lost their moms and dads to some combination of addiction, mental health crises, poverty, violence, homelessness or incarceration. Some of them will, over time, be reunited with their parent(s). Some will be adopted by a new family. Some will grow up in foster care. All will suffer at deep levels, their childhoods infected by degrees with pain, loss and injustice.
Fortunately, social workers, therapists, attorneys and judges work hard to help them, but with that many kids in the system, these caring professionals are stretched thin. As much as they want to know and attend to each child’s every need, it just cannot be done.
Unless that child has a CASA.
CASA stands for “Court Appointed Special Advocate.” A CASA is a community member, a caring adult who is appointed by the court to focus on one child or sibling set. The CASA pays attention to that child, visits him or her every week, listens and learns what the child wants and needs. The CASA makes sure that the child is staying safe, is being cared for, is being heard. Having been vetted and trained, the CASA is an officer of the court and writes reports to the judge with recommendations for the child’s present needs and future placement.
CASA is a program of Child Advocates of Nevada County, whose goal it is to provide a CASA to every child who needs one. Today there are 44 active CASAs in Nevada County working with 68 children, making a difference in all those lives. If you would like to help do the same, consider becoming a CASA.
Call Melinda at Child Advocates at 530-265-9550, ext. 222, or email Melinda@caofnc.org. Sign up for our informational meeting from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. today in preparation for our spring training from April 2 through May 9. Learn how the program works and meet Judge B. Scott Thomsen who will speak to the value of giving a child a CASA.
Being a CASA is a big responsibility. But so is the knowledge that there are children in need.
For information, call Melinda at 530-265-9550 ext 222, or email Melinda@caofnc.org.