In effort to provide more children in foster care with an advocate, CASA of Middlesex County is launching Lift Up! A Volunteer Recruitment Campaign with a lakeside wine and cheese party on Sept. 23 at Lago – Restaurant & Banquet Hall in North Brunswick.
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) are volunteers who act as the “eyes and ears” of the family court system, providing critical information to help judges make the best decisions for children who have been removed from their biological families due to abuse or neglect, according to Stephanie Brown, Director, CASA of Middlesex County.
“While we have a strong cadre of dedicated volunteers standing up for children in foster care, there are still hundreds of kids who need a dedicated adult looking out for their best interests,’’ she explained. “That’s why we are launching this campaign – to engage more people in this important work.’’
At the event, attendees will enjoy wine, cheese and hors d'oeuvres, while hearing from current volunteers and CASA staff about the roles and responsibilities of CASA volunteers, the support they receive and the impact they can have on a child’s life, Brown said.
CASA of Middlesex County recruits, trains and supports volunteers, equipping them with the knowledge and tools they need to succeed in helping children in foster care.
Only about one-quarter of Middlesex County children in foster care have a CASA. Research shows that children without a CASA, on average, spend more time in foster care, struggle more in school and are more likely to return to foster care because of repeat abuse, Brown said.
“Children living in foster care have suffered trauma, abuse and neglect,” she explained. “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.’’
An independent voice for each child, CASA volunteers help to ensure that children receive the services and supports they need while in foster care to help them thrive and to move more quickly toward a safe, forever home.
“Our trained, dedicated volunteers work on the front lines with the courts, 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. “By donating an average of just a few hours a week, CASA volunteers help children get the help they need to find a safe, forever home.”
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.