April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and SOS CASA of the Flint Hills is seeking dedicated members of the community to step up and become Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA volunteers) to help break the cycle of abuse and neglect through supporting children and families. CASA volunteers are everyday people, from all walks of life, who want to make a difference in a child's life. SOS CASA of the Flint Hills provides valuable volunteer advocacy for abused children in the community. Each CASA is screened, highly trained, then appointed by judges to represent and advocate for a child’s best interests in the child protection system. CASA volunteers are assigned to help one child or set of siblings at a time, so they can focus on giving that child or sibling group the individualized advocacy and attention they need. CASA volunteers serve as the “eyes and ears” for the judge in child welfare cases. This includes researching each child’s situation and making objective recommendations to help them reclaim their childhoods from abuse and neglect. CASA volunteers are frequently the only stable presence in these children’s lives as they navigate the foster care system.
Certain types of cases are significantly more likely to receive CASA services, including children in larger sibling groups, children who experience more types of maltreatment leading to removal, and children who do not have family options. Additionally, children whose family has a higher number of caregiver risk factors, more prior DCF investigations, and children whose homes show indications of past or current domestic violence, are more likely to be appointed a CASA. When faced with the toughest cases, judges call upon CASA, knowing CASA volunteers are dedicated and well-trained to take on any challenge. Their determination creates a lasting impact in the lives of children.
Last year, 46 CASA volunteers served 88 children in the foster care system in Lyon and Chase counties, but many more children still need a CASA to advocate for them. The issues facing our child welfare system cannot be fixed overnight, and while progress is happening, too many children are stuck in the system without a CASA volunteer advocating for their best interest. Every child deserves a chance at a bright future, and you can help by becoming a CASA volunteer.
National Volunteer Appreciation Week is April 18-24. SOS CASA of the Flint Hills is honored to recognize past and present CASA volunteers who have stepped up and used their voice as a powerful tool to advocate for children. We celebrate their tireless efforts in advocating for our most vulnerable, abused and neglected children. These volunteers refuse to sit back and hope for a day when our overburdened system is no longer an issue; instead, they are stepping up to help build a better life for the child today. Thank you, CASA volunteers, and all the other volunteers in our community who offer their time and talents to make our communities safer, healthier, and stronger.
This April, please consider helping a child by becoming a CASA volunteer. SOS CASA of the Flint Hills is currently accepting applications. We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and are regularly providing updates and resources to help CASA volunteers. Pre-service training is scheduled to begin in late June. Applicants must be 21 years old to apply and acceptance is subject to criminal background checks. For more information, contact CASA at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at www.casagalforchildren.org.