BLOOMFIELD, NJ Board president and Freeholder At-Large Brendan W. Gill declared Tuesday, May 1, 2018 as “Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Essex County Day,” kicking off CASA for Children of Essex County’s observance of May as National Foster Care Awareness month. The proclamation recognizes the non-profit organization’s advocacy efforts on behalf of foster children, to help raise awareness county-wide of its mission and actions. 

Essex County is home to the state’s largest population of foster children, who have been removed from their homes because of abuse, neglect, or abandonment. CASA's 230 volunteer advocates currently serve nearly 30% of these vulnerable children. With the addition of more volunteer advocates, many more children can be served.

“We are honored that the Freeholders have recognized the crucial work CASA volunteer advocates do for Essex County’s foster children. This public acknowledgment helps us to inform the community about our advocates’ outstanding service and the positive impact they have on these vulnerable children’s lives,” said Julie Cerf, CASA Essex’s Interim Executive Director. “We hope that other compassionate Essex County residents will be inspired to learn more and become CASA volunteer advocates themselves.”

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Volunteer CASAs gather information about a foster child’s unmet needs, represent their “voice in court,” and provide family court judges with crucial information to help them make decisions that will affect the rest of the child’s life. CASAs ensure that every foster child receives the court-ordered services they need to help them thrive in challenging circumstances, while working collaboratively with child welfare professionals toward establishing a safe, stable, and permanent home.

CASA Essex conducts classes throughout the year to train everyday citizens to become volunteer advocates. The next training course begins on Monday, July 16. Applications are being accepted now.

For information on volunteering with Essex County CASA, training class schedules, and a Volunteer Advocate Application, contact Jess Earl, Community Outreach Coordinator at 973-622-4831 or jearl@casaessex.org, or visit www.casaessex.org/volunteer. 

About CASA for Children of Essex County

CASA for Children of Essex County (CASA Essex) is an independent, court-authorized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that promotes the welfare of children who have been removed from their homes because of abuse, neglect or abandonment by providing a safety net of support, advocacy and mentorship.  CASA trains and supervises volunteers to speak up for the best interests of these children in court to ensure that each child has the opportunity to thrive by receiving needed services and assistance while helping to move the child towards a safe and permanent home. CASA Essex is one of 950 CASA programs nationwide and the oldest CASA program in New Jersey.