ELIZABETH, NJ — Miozotty Diaz, of Roselle Park is one of the 15 newest representatives from among 13 municipalities to become court appointed special advocates in Union County. They are tasked with serving as extra eyes and ears for family law judges on the cases of Union County youth that are removed from their home due to abuse, neglect or abandonment and placed in foster homes or residential facilities. The ceremony was held on Monday at the Union County Family Courthouse.
Diaz, a senior operations analyst in AIG’s Client Risk Solutions Department in Berkeley Heights, said, “I’m very excited about this journey and, honestly, a bit worried how I’ll be able to handle it but not enough to scare me away. I figure if it’s uncomfortable for me, I can’t begin to imagine how uncomfortable it must be for the children actually going through this traumatic experience. We’re all just passing by; if we have the capacity to help another person or make someone happy by being in their lives, that’s what matters. There’s so much joy in giving the gift of time to serve others.”
After completion of approximately 30 hours’ training with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Union County, Diaz, and her classmates took their oath and were sworn in as advocates and judicial volunteers by Superior Court Judge Richard Wischusen. After completion of three hours’ court observation to see seasoned CASA volunteers in action, the new advocates will meet their assigned foster youth or siblings.
The new advocates range from age 23 to 66, are parents and nonparents, and work in such fields as education, nonprofit, and law enforcement, as well as homemakers. Most had no prior knowledge of the foster system.
With court-ordered access to foster parents, doctors, caseworkers, therapists and teachers, CASA volunteers incorporate their findings into court reports and work to ensure each youth’s needs are met and best interests protected. They are a constant during chaos and work to ensure the youth’s trauma is not exacerbated in care.
There are approximately 500 Union County youth from birth to age 21 in foster care, and more than 200 are still waiting for their very own CASA volunteer in their corner. Could that be you?
For further details as well as training opportunities, contact Courtney at firstname.lastname@example.org or 908-293-8136.
Other new advocates for Union County’s foster youth are, Stephen Wells of Westfield, Elizabeth Bennett of Rahway, Marykate La Bau of Cranford, Miozotty Diaz of Roselle Park, Lisa Betz of Summit, Andrea Balbuena of Kearny, Maryann Kaelin of Clark, Judge Richard Wischusen, Daniela Faibes of Mountainside, Hope Mitchell of Watchung, Samiyyah Muhammad of Linden, Sabrina Stein of Montville, Nisha St. Louis of Irvington, Marcela Tricanico of Elizabeth, Kristin Steinmetz of Mountainside and Patricia Walsh of Cranford.
Sign up for our daily e-news!