LINDEN, NJ— Linden is among 11 Union County towns represented by volunteers sworn in as court appointed special advocates (CASAs), thanks to resident Edwin Charlotin, who says, “CASA of Union County provides me an opportunity to make an impact in my community, and to associate with great individuals who are striving to provide better futures.”
Superior Court Judge James Hely administered oath to Charlotin and others, before Charlotin was
matched to a foster youth or sibling set ranging from birth to age 21. After court observation of experienced
CASA volunteers in action, Charlotin will meet the assigned youth.
Volunteers with Court Appointed Special Advocates of Union County are extra eyes and ears for family law
judges hearing cases involving abused, neglected or abandoned children removed from home and placed in
foster care. With court-ordered access to such parties as foster parents, doctors, caseworkers, therapists and
teachers, the advocates incorporate findings into court reports for the judge and work to ensure the youth’s
needs are met and best interests are protected. CASA volunteers serve another important role for their youth:
being a constant amid a flurry of unknowns and changes, including multiple caseworkers, foster homes and
schools.
This class ranges from age 23 to 70 and includes parents, non-parents, business and medical professionals,
county employees, retirees and homemakers. One was adopted from foster care and another has
guardianship of nieces from the system. Most had no prior knowledge of the foster system.
It’s crucial that each of the more than 500 Union County foster youth have an advocate. As the only
organization filling this role, community volunteers are still needed, and are encouraged to join one of the fall
training sessions that begin Sept. 17 (evenings) and Oct. 12 (daytime). 

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