Seventeen new CASA volunteers have opened their hearts to children who have endured abuse and neglect. The volunteers will take an oath to speak on behalf of 47 kids on Monday, Feb. 12 at noon at Family Court, Courtroom 9, 601 N. Pecos Road.
The volunteers, including a retired teacher, police officer and principal, will serve as a voice for the young children whose parents are working through addiction and other issues. The volunteers also include former foster youth , foster parents, adoptive parents and a Veterans Administration social worker.
There is a big need for CASA volunteers in Clark County to speak up for the approximately 3,200 children in the community, who are receiving services under supervision of Family Court. Those who want to help abused and neglected children are invited to one of the upcoming CASA orientations, which are held the third Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m. at the Government Center, 500 S. Grand Central Pkwy. More information is available about the program at 702-455-4306, visit www.casalasvegas.org or Facebook at www.facebook.com/#!/CASALasVegas. The next CASA orientation will be held on Feb. 21 at 6 p.m. at the Government Center, 500 S. Grand Central Pkwy.
“Our goal is to have a CASA volunteer for every child in foster care. When you give abused and neglected kids a CASA, you give them a voice. When you give them a voice, you give them hope. When you give them hope, you give them a future,” said Family Court Judge Frank Sullivan, who will administer the oath to the CASA volunteers. “When you volunteer as a CASA, it’s so rewarding and you get so much back.”
There are around 350 CASA volunteers serving as a voice for children under the supervision of the Family Court CASA Program. However, many more volunteers are needed to advocate for the remainder of the children in care. Last year, nearly one thousand children had a CASA volunteer to help them navigate through the system, deal with school challenges and handle home life.
“CASA volunteers help to stabilize the lives of foster children who have endured tremendous instability in their lives,” said Presiding Family Court Judge Bryce Duckworth. “I encourage those who want to add meaning to their life to consider volunteering as a CASA; and I thank those who are already volunteering for their commitment.”
The CASA program recruits, screens, trains and supports volunteers to represent the best interests of hundreds of foster children annually. The advocates represent the children in school, family team meetings, and in court. Volunteering for the program involves a two-year commitment and a willingness to spend quality time with the children to advocate for them. In 1980, Judge John Mendoza led the creation of the Clark County CASA Program. The CASA mission continues to be fully supported by Family Court Judges. For those interested in volunteering with CASA, monthly orientations are held on the third Wednesday of each month to provide more information about the program.