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Essex County Casa For Children Seeks Advocates For Programming

New Jersey’s largest and oldest CASA program calls for volunteers

PRLog - Jul. 10, 2014 - (Newark, NJ) - Each year, more than 2,100 children across Essex County are removed from their birth parents due to abuse, neglect or abandonment and their cases come before Family Court.  Through CASA for Children of Essex County, everyday citizens are trained and empowered as officers of the court to help these children and the Judges hearing their cases.

CASA for Children of Essex County is currently seeking volunteers across Essex County to join the 223 advocates that currently serve 530 foster children in the County. New training classes begin September 9, 2014, and applications can be downloaded at www.casaessex.org.

There are more than 1,000 foster children in Essex County who do not have a CASA advocate, and are in need of one. CASA volunteer advocates are appointed by family court judges to serve one child or sibling set at a time and their critical volunteer role is to:

·      Dedicate 4 hours per week, on average.

·      Visit the child in their foster placement monthly.

·      Gain their trust as the “Judge’s Helper”.

·      Confirm their safety, wellbeing and identify  any unmet needs of the child..

·      Visit their teachers and school to advocate for their unmet educational needs, if any.

·      Report to the Judge monthly on the child’s well being.

·      Become part of a collaborative team serving the child within the child welfare system in Essex County.

Prior to taking on the CASA volunteer’s roles and responsibilities, a CASA advocate must attend a 33-hour basic training program. The Advocate partners with a CASA Case Supervisor who will help guide their work.   CASA trainee cohorts start 5 times a year, with the next one taking place September 9, 2014 through October 2, 2014.  The CASA trainee cohort will take place Tuesday and Thursday evenings (5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.) with Saturday, Sept 13, 2014 and Saturday, Sept 27, 2014 (9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.) included.

If citizens are interested in getting involved with CASA for Children of Essex County as an advocate, please reach out to Volunteer Director, Carol Costello at 973-648-3351.

For additional information on CASA-Essex, please visit www.casaessex.org.

About CASA for Children of Essex County

CASA for Children of Essex County (CASA-Essex) is an independent, court-authorized non-profit organization that promotes the welfare of children who have been removed from their homes because of abuse, neglect or abandonment by providing a safety net of support, advocacy and mentorship.  CASA trains and supervises volunteers to speak up for the best interests of these children in court to ensure that each child has the opportunity to thrive by receiving needed services and assistance while helping to move the child towards a safe and permanent home. CASA Essex is one of 950 CASA programs nationwide. CASA Essex has received national honors for excellence from The National CASA Association:  2014- Program Diversity & Inclusion; 2009 - Board Member of the Year (Cathy Pinto) 1999- Judge of the Year (Thomas Zampino).

About National CASA

In 1977 a Seattle judge, concerned over making decisions about abused and neglected children’s lives without sufficient information, conceived the idea of using trained community volunteers to speak for their safety and wellbeing, and to help them find safe and permanent homes where they can thrive. So successful was this program, that judges across the country began utilizing citizen advocates. Today, 950 CASA/GAL offices operate in 49 states, with nearly 70,000 men and women serving as CASA/GAL volunteers.

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Country:United States
Industry:Government, Non-profit
Tags:nonprofit, new jersey, foster care, volunteers, essex county
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