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Wed, Jan. 29

CASA Case of the Month

If you are interested in becoming a CASA volunteer, please contact the CASA office at 928-771-3165.

If you are interested in becoming a CASA volunteer, please contact the CASA office at 928-771-3165.

At a time when our country is celebrating its independence, hundreds of kids in Arizona’s foster care system are trying to find theirs without the guidance and direction that traditionally comes from parents.

Teens who enter the foster care system are at a disadvantage when it comes to independence. They are more likely than younger children to be placed in a group home or shelter situation with up to a dozen other youth and limited opportunities for personal growth. This hits hard at a time when most other kids their age are getting ready to drive, graduate high school and date.

There are thousands of teens in foster care in Arizona and every six months more than 500 of them reach the age of 18 and head out into the world on their own. The community can help. Studies have shown one caring, consistent adult can have a life-changing impact on a child in foster care. That’s why the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program is so important.

CASA advocates ensure not only that a child in foster care has a consistent adult presence but that they have the services and support they need to thrive. CASA advocates are appointed to one case and visit the children involved with that case regularly. They gather vital information which is shared in a court report with the judge who will ultimately make decisions regarding the child’s living situation.

Children with a CASA volunteer assigned to them are more likely to receive services and resources; twice as likely to find a safe, permanent home; and half as likely to re-enter the foster care system. Unfortunately very few children get the support of a CASA volunteer.

There are currently more than 1,000 CASA volunteers serving children all over Arizona. CASA of Arizona encourages more people to get involved. To speak to a CASA volunteer in your coverage area or for more information on the program contact Allison Hurtado at ahurtado@courts.az.gov or 602-452-3683.

For more information about CASA of Arizona, visit www.CASAofArizona.org.

The CASA program is administered by the Arizona Supreme Court and has programs in all 15 Arizona counties. County programs recruit and train community-based volunteers to speak up for the rights of abused and neglected children in court. CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to foster children who have the greatest need for an advocate. Volunteers do not provide placement or a home for the child, but are strictly advocates who submit their recommendations directly to the judge hearing a child’s case. CASA volunteers complete 30 hours of training to prepare them for their duties.

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