When I first moved to Lewisburg, WV, my neighbor, Maribeth Irwin, asked if I could "Be a Friend of CASA" and be on the fund raising committee. Of course, I said yes, and have been helping to raise money since moving here in 2006. We support and promote court-appointed volunteer advocacy for abused and neglected children so that they can thrive in safe, permanent homes.
In 1977, a Seattle judge conceived the idea of using trained community volunteers to speak for the best interests of abused and neglected children in court. So successful was this program that soon judges across the country began utilizing citizen advocates. In 1990, the US Congress encouraged the expansion of CASA programs with passage of the Victims of Child Abuse Act.
Today, CASA has grown to a network of more than 50,000 volunteers that serve 225,000 abused and neglected children through 900+ local program offices nationwide. CASA advocates, also known as volunteer guardians, ad litem in some jurisdictions, are appointed members of the court. Judges rely on the information these trusted advocates present.
The CASA volunteer's primary responsibility is to serve as the "eyes and ears" of the Court, gathering information from the child, his/her biological parents, foster parents, teachers, counselors, etc. and making recommendations to the judge as to what is in the child's best interest.
CASA is the only volunteer organization that empowers everyday citizens as appointed members of the court. In an overburdened social welfare system, abused and neglected children often slip through the cracks among hundreds of current cases. CASA volunteers change that. Appointed by judges, CASA volunteers typically handle just one case at a time-and commit to staying on that case until the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. While others may come and go, CASA volunteers provide that one constant that children need in order to thrive.
We are planning our next CASA Fund-Raising event, "A Child's Hope" on April 24, to be held at the Cooper Gallery, Lewisburg, WV. I will be writing a post on this upcoming event in the next few days.
To find out how to help, donate money, become a CASA volunteer, a friend of CASA, become a corporate partner, or start a CASA program, go to West Virginia CASA Association at http://www.wvcasa.org/howtohelp.html
Please help support this worthy cause and check your area for a CASA program