Our guest speaker for our September Program Meeting was Paul Ammons, CASA Outreach Coordinator for Voices for Children, a San Diego nonprofit that recruits, trains, and supports Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers who speak up for the needs and well-being of children in foster care in our area. Paul is asking us to help spread the word to find more CASA volunteers to help these kids, whose lives are chaotic and who often need to move frequently, changing school districts, being reassigned social workers, etc. And as we know, foster children are particularly vulnerable to sex trafficking. They are in need of one stable adult in their life who cares about them and will have their back for a sustained period.
Voices for Children recruits and trains and supports CASA volunteers. Each volunteer is vetted and appointed by a judge to get involved in the life of a child, spend time with them, and report to the court about the child’s progress and needs. Unlike the high caseloads social workers and legal advocated face, a CASA is able to focus on just one child or sibling group at a time. By building a trusting relationship with that child, a CASA is able to help the judge understand not only their situation but also what they like to do, what their favorite subject is in school, or why they are struggling in a certain placement. This helps judges make the most informed decisions for children’s futures.
To become a CASA, no legal experience or prior knowledge of foster care are required; Voices for Children provides all the training needed. Volunteers must be at least 21, able to visit with their case child at least once per month, have a good driving record and pass a background check, and commit to a minimum of 18 months, with average service of 10-15 hours per month.
For more information, visit www.speakupnow.org