April 3, 2014 at 3:22 PM
Passaic County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) for Children is asking people to make a difference in a child's life by becoming a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate to a local child who is under court protection because of abuse, neglect or abandonment, or by making a financial contribution to the organization.
Court appointed special advocate volunteers receive in-depth training to advocate in court and in the community for the needs and rights of children in out of home placement. CASA volunteers are men and women who come from all walks of life and professions. In Passaic County, more than 700 children were living in out-of-home placement last year because their homes were no longer safe. These children lead uncertain lives: some are in foster care, others in group homes, some in shelters; many of them are separated from their siblings; most of them don’t understand what has happened or why. Only 25% of these children had the benefit of a CASA volunteer due to the limited numbers of volunteers available. The program’s goal in 2014 is to increase the number of children served.
“Volunteers spend time getting to know the child they are appointed to by talking with the child and everyone in that child’s life: parents and family members, caretakers, teachers, medical professionals, attorneys, social workers and others. The information they gather is used by judges and other professionals in making crucial decisions to meet each child’s needs, with the goal of obtaining a safe, permanent home for these children,” said Erica Fischer-Kaslander, Executive Director of Passaic County CASA for Children.
Following application and screening, prospective CASA volunteers complete 36 hours of pre-service training. Once they are assigned to a case, they can expect to spend an average of about 10 hours a month doing things such as getting to know the child, gathering information, exploring resources to meet the child’s needs, attending court hearings and writing Court reports. Passaic County CASA is now recruiting volunteers. For more information and to receive an application, visit CASA online at www.passaiccountycasa.org or contact Margaret Curreri, Community & Volunteer Outreach Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org or Telephone 973-832-4002