Scarlett & Stephanie Bagunu help put out more than 300 pinwheels at Family Court to remind people that there are more than 3,000 children in our community who need someone to speak up on their behalf.

Thirteen new CASA volunteers from all walks of life are stepping up for children who have endured abuse and neglect, and are now in foster care. The volunteers will take an oath to speak on behalf of  more than 27 kids on Monday, July 30 at noon at Family Court, Courtroom 9, 601 N. Pecos Road. The volunteers, including a lawyer, travel agent, tax specialist, music teacher, mom, event planner, county liaison, mental health professional and retirees will speak up for the young children whose parents are working through addiction and other issues.

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.

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 Aug. 15 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, you get more back from the kids than you give.”

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.

“The CASA program and volunteers have accomplished much to stabilize the lives of countless foster children who have endured trauma in their lives,” said Presiding Family Court Judge Bryce Duckworth. “I thank the many volunteers who have stepped up to help children in need. Their commitment and willingness to speak up for kids has an enduring impact.”

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.