WAYNE, NJ - Child advocates, elected officials, and others gathered Saturday to celebrate the ribbon cutting of Passaic County CASA’s new headquarters in Wayne. The significantly larger space, according to a statement, will allow the organization to train a greater number of volunteers in order to meet its ambitious goal of providing an advocate for every child in the county foster care system.

Passaic County CASA is a nonprofit organization that recruits, screens, trains, and supervises volunteers to “Speak Up for a Child” removed from home due to abuse or neglect. CASA is the only program in New Jersey that uses trained volunteers to work one-on-one with children, ensuring that each child receives needed services and achieves permanency in a safe, nurturing home.

Attending the festivities was Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh who said that he was “proud of the tremendous work of CASA volunteers."

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“There is no greater way to answer the call to serve than in support of our community’s children,” Sayegh said following the event. “The work of the men and women that give their time has a value that can not be measured. They are truly making a positive impact.

Wayne Mayor Christopher P. Vergano; Passaic County CASA Executive Director Erica Fischer-Kaslander; and Passaic County CASA Board President Jamie Dykes also attended the event that commemorated National Foster Care Month, observed annually in May.

Saying that Passaic County CASA is, as a result of their parents’ opiate addiction, seeing more children entering the foster care system, Fischer-Kaslander said the increase in newborn babies entering foster care directly from the hospital is even more concerning.

“In order to address this tragedy,” she added, “Passaic County CASA is in the midst of a major fundraising and volunteer recruitment drive to ensure that every child in the foster care system in the county has an advocate.

While Passaic County CASA currently has 125 volunteers serving on behalf of children in the county’s foster care system the need is much greater. The fundraising drive, which is seeking to match a $150,000 grant from the Pamela and Craig Goldman Foundation, will support the non-profit’s plan to serve two-thirds of the children in the Passaic County foster care system by late 2020 with the ultimate goal of serving every child.

“Every child, regardless of circumstance, deserves an advocate looking out for their needs and wellbeing,” Fischer-Kaslander concluded.

Click here for more information about Passaic County CASA’s services or to make a tax deductible contribution.


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