While people across the country are setting goals for the new year, thousands of children in Arizona are unsure where they’ll be living tomorrow.
Children in Arizona’s foster-care system face a life of uncertainty. They can be moved from place to place with no notice. To make matters more complicated, the professional adults in their lives are frequently changing – from their social worker to therapist, to their school or daycare.
Every child needs a stable, caring adult in their life.
This is why a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is so important. CASA volunteers are a consistent voice for a child in foster care. They spend 10-20 hours per month reviewing the child’s case and getting to know the child and what is in his or her best interest. The CASA is often the most consistent person in the life of a child in foster care. CASA volunteers not only assist the judge in making critical decisions but often taken on a mentor role to the child for life.
Today there are over 14,000 children in Arizona who were removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect. CASA of Arizona’s goal is to have one CASA for every child in foster care.
“We have an average of 80 dedicated volunteer advocates in Pinal County, but with nearly 1,000 children in foster care, we desperately need more,” said CASA Program Administrator Donna McBride.
CASAs are everyday community members who donate their time to be the voice for a child. Children with a CASA are more likely to find a safe, permanent home, more likely to succeed in school, and are half as likely to re-enter the foster care system.
No specific background or training is needed to become a CASA volunteer. Anyone 21 years of age or older, who can pass a thorough background check and complete 30 hours of free training, is encouraged to apply.