Almost half a million children in the United States live in foster care, meant to be a temporary haven. They have been removed from their homes, not because they did anything wrong, but because they've been abused or neglected. It's frightening and confusing for these children to suddenly find themselves in the complex world of social workers, attorneys and judges, people who have the power to decide where they will live and whether they will go home or be freed for adoption. Sometimes, these children can spend years in foster care, waiting for those decisions to be made.
One judge had an idea to help these children find a way into safe, permanent homes more quickly. His idea was: CASA - Court Appointed Special Advocates.
CASAs are trained volunteers who are appointed by a judge to speak up for the best interests of a child. Now, there are approximately 86,000 CASA volunteers helping abused and neglected children all across the country. But over 400,000 of the children who need a CASA don't have one. You can help those girls and boys have a voice in court and a chance at a better future. Become a CASA Volunteer!
All training will be held at the Kitsap County Youth Service Center, 1338 SW Old Clifton Rd, Port Orchard WA 98367. Please dress comfortably. Also feel free to bring a pillow to sit on. A training manual will be provided for you to keep. As a reminder, you will be required to attend the orientation, all three days of training, and 3 hours of court observation. Lunch is regrettably not provided but snacks are provided throughout. Please let us know of any special dietary considerations.You will learn:
How to advocate for the best interest of the child
How to investigate the child's situation
How to monitor case progress
How to encourage communication
How to interview the child, family and other involved professionals to uncover all the facts
How to report to the Court
Writing court reports
What to expect if you are asked to testify
When you become a volunteer for the Court Appointed Special Advocate Program (CASA), you are asked to make a one-year commitment to the program and to serve on the case as long as the child is a ward of the state . Volunteers are expected to dedicate approximately 10 to 20 hours of time per month to advocate for abused or neglected children. Being a CASA volunteer can be hard, often tiresome work. Sometimes it will make you angry or sad or frustrated at what you see. But when you can help just one child who's been assaulted or neglected, and when you make the difference in only one confused child's life, then you will know for certain that it is all worth it, for both you and the child.
Ready to volunteer? Contact the CASA Coordinator and get started!