To help give more Middlesex County foster children a caring adult to look out for their best interests, CASA of Middlesex County will host its annual brunch on May 7 at Steakhouse 85, New Brunswick.

The event will feature a brunch, champagne toasts, a silent auction and the chance to mingle with friends and community leaders, according to Stephanie Brown, director, CASA of Middlesex County.

“Children living in foster care have suffered trauma, abuse and neglect,” Brown said. “They are often confused and fearful of their uncertain future. The well-intentioned systems designed to serve these vulnerable kids can overlook the needs of an individual child.’’

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That’s where Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) come in.

“These, trained dedicated volunteers work on the front lines with the courts, the schools, healthcare providers and social and protective services to make sure each child gets the needed help while in foster care and finds a safe, permanent home as soon as possible,” Brown explained.

Proceeds from Toast 2017 will be used to recruit, train and support more volunteers to serve the hundreds of Middlesex County foster children who do not have someone solely dedicated to looking out for their best interests, Brown said.

In 2016, just 21 percent of the more than 600 Middlesex County children in foster care had a CASA in their corner, Brown noted. Children without a CASA are more likely to experience negative outcomes, including spending more time in foster care, struggling at school and returning to foster care because of repeat abuse.

Toast 2017 will also honor Amy Mansue, president, Southern Region for RWJBarnabas Health, for her deep commitment to improving the health and well-being of New Jersey’s children.

“We feel privileged to honor Amy, who has worked for years to improve healthcare for children and to craft public policies that safeguard our most vulnerable children,” Brown said.

In addition to event tickets, CASA of Middlesex County is offering sponsorships and ad journal opportunities, as well as accepting donations from individuals and businesses for the silent auction.

To learn more, visit casaofmiddlesexcounty.org/toast2017.

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CASA of Middlesex County is non-profit dedicated to standing up for the needs of children living in foster care, advocating for these children through the hard work of trained volunteers who are assigned to a single child or sibling group.