Kara Ward wrote -
We see news stories every day about children taken from an abusive home, or because of a tragic loss of a parent- to illness or violence or incarceration. We assume there must be a program or system that will take care of these children and make sure they are treated with dignity, given a safe place to live, so they can recover from their hardship and be a child again. But there is a story behind the story that few people speak about. It is the story of overburdened foster care and child welfare systems that- though full of well-intentioned and deeply committed people- cannot begin to meet the needs of more than 660,000 children in foster care in the United States. It is the story of a six-year-old girl who has been moved to six group homes and three schools over the past two years. The story of a toddler separated from her brothers and sisters during the most vulnerable time of her life. The story of a child being handed his belongings in a plastic bag at the age of 18, because he has "aged out" of the system. It is a story that occurs over and over again in America's foster care and child welfare system. BUT.... These stories can have better endings, because there is a group of trained volunteers appointed by judges to advocate for these children. People who fight for these abused and neglected children, to make sure their basic rights and essential needs don’t get overlooked or ignored by the system. These stories can have better endings because of people like you. We are COURT APPOINTED SPECIAL ADVOCATES (CASA) for Children, a volunteer powered network of committed people-from all walks of life-who believe society has a fundamental obligation to these children. We are people just like you who believe that every child has the right to be treated with dignity, to be safe, and to thrive in the embrace of a loving family. "To give a child a CASA volunteer is to give them a voice. To give them a voice is to give them hope, and to give them hope is to give them the world. I believe that will all my heart." - Pamela, former foster child Currently there are over 700 children in Ocean County living in the foster care system. And nearly 580 of these children are on a waiting list for a CASA of their very own. In 2015, CASA of Ocean County, recruited, trained and professionally supervised 68 volunteers that served 164 of these children. Your contribution helps us to support and recruit new volunteers that go through the 30 hour training each CASA volunteer receives, it also helps to provide professional supervision, support and on-going training to these volunteers – all resulting in over 13,920 volunteer hours per year dedicated to serving children in Ocean County living in foster care. Please help us stand up and say, “I am for the Child" Thank you for helping to make a difference for children at risk.