Children who are in foster care face daunting challenges. They are generally traumatized by abuse and neglect and have to face their day-to-day lives with constant uncertainty. A Light of Hope Ceremony will be held at the Eighth Judicial District Family Court on Monday, Apr. 11 at noon, in courtroom 9, 601 N. Pecos Road that will offer enlightening information on many ways that individuals can impact the life of an abused and neglected child. The special candle-lighting ceremony will illuminate the need for volunteers to advocate for the nearly 3,500 abused and neglected children who are receiving services under the supervision of Family Court. April is Child Abuse Prevention And Awareness Month and a great time to consider volunteering as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) to help the abused and neglected childdren in our community.
The focus this year is to make a difference in the lives of children in foster care. “I would like to call on college students, retirees, those who want to make a difference and have a little time to spare to attend one of the CASA information session and learn how they can really have a positive impact on a young life,” said Family Court Judge Frank Sullivan, who oversees the CASA program. “By volunteering a just a few hours a week to serve as a CASA, volunteers can really make a positive impact on the life of a child.”
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, child and 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.
“Each time we swear in new CASA volunteers, we are grateful that they are willing to speak up for abused and neglected children. We are also reminded of how many more volunteers are needed to provide a voice for every child in foster care,” said Presiding Family Court Judge Charles Hoskin.
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. Upcoming orientations will be held at the Government Center, 500 S. Grand Central Pkwy. For more information about the program please call 702-455-4306, visit www.casalasvegas.org or Facebook at www.facebook.com/#!/CASALasVegas.