CASA of Middlesex County will hold a volunteer training session beginning on March 18 for those interested in donating their time to help a child in foster care.
Last year, CASA of Middlesex County helped nearly 110 children in foster care, but roughly 400 other children in care lacked a dedicated adult looking out solely for their best interests, said Stephanie Brown, director, CASA of Middlesex County.
“We know that children who have a CASA in their corner are more likely to spend less time in foster care and more likely to receive the services and supports they need while in care,’’ Brown said. “Sadly, we just do not have enough volunteers to provide a CASA to every Middlesex County child who needs one. We are working to change that.’’
Appointed by the family court, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) conduct an independent investigation of each child’s case to help judges make good decisions regarding the children’s well-being and safety while in foster care and ultimate placement in a safe, permanent home.
Prospective volunteers must first complete an online application, which can be found at casaofmiddlesexcounty.org/volunteer. Once a prospective volunteer completes an application, CASA interviews candidates and conducts required background checks. Volunteers then participate in 30 hours of training before being assigned a case. CASA volunteers typically handle one case at a time.
Middlesex County CASA currently serves less than one-quarter of the more than 500 children in foster care in Middlesex County. Research shows that, in addition to spending less time in care, children without a CASA, on average, struggle more in school and are more likely to return to foster care because of repeat abuse, Brown said.
“By donating an average of just few hours a week, CASAs make a real and lasting difference in the lives of these vulnerable children,’’ Brown said. “We encourage all who may be interested to visit our website, complete an application or call us at (732) 449-4449 to learn more.’’
For more information, visit http://www.casaofmiddlesexcounty.org/volunteer.