The Issue: Children in the Foster-Care System
In the state of Georgia alone, about 7,000 children at any one time are involved in the foster-care system because they are victims of abuse or neglect. An overburdened system cannot adequately represent them all. Judges and attorneys can't always "provide the in-depth information courts need to make fully informed decisions about children’s well-being," said a report by the Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care. Court-appointed special advocates are "a proven means of strengthening the voice of children in dependency courts." In fiscal year 2012, Children’s Voice: CASA, Inc. served 128 children in Douglas County, according to data from the organization.
The Campaign: Advocating for Abused and Neglected Kids
All donations to this Grassroots campaign—which falls in the middle of both National Foster Care Month and the lead-up to Mother's Day—will be used by Children's Voice: CASA, Inc. to provide advocacy services for abused and neglected children involved in juvenile-court deprivation proceedings in Douglas County. For every $100 raised, a court-appointed special advocate can represent a child for one month—attending court hearings, speaking up when issues arise, and ensuring the child’s needs are met and best interests are served. These volunteers increase the chances that children find safe, permanent housing, more assistance within the foster-care system, and a loving adoptive family.
Children's Voice: CASA, Inc.
The tireless, all-volunteer team of court-appointed special advocates (CASA) at Children's Voice: CASA, Inc. give a voice to the unheard children of Douglas County. A chapter of the National CASA and Georgia CASA, the local outpost advocates for the best interests of abused and neglected children involved in juvenile-court deprivation proceedings, speaking up for the needs of children who might otherwise get lost in the overburdened legal and social-services system. The volunteers—each of whom has completed 30 hours of pre-service training and 10 hours of court observation—take on a wide range of responsibilities on behalf of children, including gathering information, appearing in court, seeking solutions, and explaining the process to the child.
Conceived in Seattle in 1976, National CASA originated as a way to empower abused and neglected children. Nationwide, advocates have helped more than two million children find safe, permanent homes since the organization’s founding. In the last year alone, volunteers have represented 243,000 children—about half of the children in the country’s child-welfare system at a given time.
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