Grandparents around the nation will be honored today for all the love and support they give to children in their lives. Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Pinal County would like to especially honor the grandparents in our community who have taken their grandchildren into their homes who have experienced abuse and/or neglect.
In Arizona, 51% of youth in foster care are living with a kinship relative, either a blood relative or an adult with whom the child has a significant relationship, according to the FY20 Department of Child Safety Annual Report. Many of these kinship care providers include grandparents who are caring for their grandchildren while there is an open dependency case, meaning the children were removed from their home due to abuse and/or neglect. Appropriate kinship placement allows the children to live with family, so they do not have to be uprooted and moved into an unfamiliar foster or group home.
While the state provides many services to kinship caregivers, especially those who get licensed, many are taken by surprise and are unsure where they can turn for support. For the thousands of children in unlicensed kinship care placements, the monthly reimbursement is only $75.
CASA volunteers are everyday community members who volunteer their time to advocate for children’s best interests who are in the foster care system. When children are living with a grandparent, CASA advocates are often able to connect them with the support and services available to better provide for their grandchildren.
Often, CASA volunteers are the only unpaid professional on the case; they are able to focus on one case at a time. Case managers, therapists and attorneys have multiple children on their caseload making it difficult to spend as much time on one family. The CASA volunteer visits the child monthly and reports back to the judge with what’s happening in the case and gives their recommendations for moving forward. A CASA volunteer’s unique outsider perspective helps them effectively advocate for the best interests of the child.
This Grandparents Day, CASA of Pinal County encourages everyone to honor the caregivers in their life by volunteering to help a child in need. For more information on the CASA Program visit CASAofPinalCounty.org or call 520-866-7076.