CASA Appreciation Day declared
California CASA — the private, nonprofit organization overseeing 44 local Court Appointed Special Advocate programs throughout the state of California, along with Child Advocates of Nevada County, our local CASA program — is honored that state Sen. Josh Newman, District 29, put forth the bill SCR 49, declaring May 28 as CASA Appreciation Day in California.
This is an opportunity for California to honor and thank the dedicated CASA volunteers who ensure children and youth in the foster care system have their voices heard every day. CASA Appreciation Day also gives the residents of California a chance to better understand the critical role a CASA volunteer plays in the lives of young people and inspire others to contribute their time and resources to support children in foster care. Throughout California, there are nearly 9,000 volunteer CASAs providing court advocacy and dedicated support to 14,000 foster children and youth. In Nevada County, over 50 community volunteers work with local children who have experienced abuse and neglect and who have open cases in dependency court.
“We are so honored and grateful that Senator Newman and the state Legislature are recognizing the extraordinary men and women who selflessly dedicate themselves to the abused, neglected children in California’s foster care system,” Sharon M. Lawrence, CEO of California CASA, said in a news release. “These CASAs are changing children’s lives every single day, whether by submitting thorough court reports to update judges on a child’s status or just being a consistent, trusted adult in a child’s life —genuinely interested in their wellbeing and providing hope and support during very difficult times.”
CASAs advocate for the best interests of children in foster care (ranging in age from birth through age 18 or 21, when they “age out” of foster care). A CASA volunteer, trained by Child Advocates of Nevada County’s CASA program and appointed by a judge, provides the court with the comprehensive and objective information the court needs to make the most well informed decisions and to help ensure positive outcomes for children and youth. These individuals not only advocate for children within the court, child welfare, and school systems but also form relationships with them that last for years. CASAs are trusted adults in these children’s lives, giving them a “voice” in court, in schools, and in the community.
CASA volunteers come from all walks of life. They are rigorously screened and trained extensively by Child Advocates’ CASA program professionals and receive 35 hours of training before they are assigned to work with a child. They receive ongoing support from CASA program professionals to help them advocate effectively on a child’s behalf. CASAs take the time to get to know the child at the heart of each case. They work in partnership with legal and child welfare professionals, educators, and service providers to ensure that each child has what he or she needs to heal and thrive.
Source: Child Advocates of Nevada County
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