There are 26,000 foster children in Los Angeles County and more than 1,700 in the Santa Clarita and Antelope Valleys alone. There are ways to help these children in need, without becoming a full-time foster parent.
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The Court Appointed Special Advocate program recruits volunteers to reach out to abused or neglected foster children on a one-to-one basis.
CASA will be hosting a volunteer information session on Sept. 5 from 12 to 1 p.m. at the Valencia Public Library.
Attendees will receive information about CASA’s mission, volunteer responsibilities and time requirements, as well as firsthand testimony from current CASA volunteers about their experiences helping youth.
CASA volunteers get to know the children and their circumstances, advocate for their best interests (including making recommendations to the Court), encourage them to grow to their fullest potential and become involved in key issues in their life, especially permanent placement, and school, health and mental health issues.
“We really want to reach out to the people of Santa Clarita and let them know how much these children need their help,” said Cynthia Whitlock, outreach coordinator for CASA of Los Angeles’ Antelope Valley office. “In Los Angeles, Antelope Valley and Santa Clarita, people get stuck in their local bubble. We need caring local volunteers to break out of that mold and drive a little ways to provide kids with help they can’t get anywhere else.”
CASA’s Antelope Valley office will also be hosting “Lunch and Learn” learning events throughout the fall in conjunction with the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce.
For those who are interested in becoming a volunteer, CASA provides a 35-hour training program to fully immerse, educate and prepare advocates to serve abused and neglected children in foster care.
Founded in 1978, CASA of Los Angeles is a community-supported non-profit organization with a mission to mobilize community volunteers to advocate on behalf of abused and neglected children in the overburdened foster care system of Los Angeles County. CASA envisions a Los Angeles where every foster child has an advocate and the opportunity to thrive.
Through committed, highly-trained citizen volunteers, CASA brings the voice of a concerned community into the child welfare system, which is often overly bureaucratic and legalistic. Studies have shown that children with advocates receive more assistance and support than children without and are more likely to be adopted or returned to their families and less likely to reenter the child welfare system. For more information, click here.
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Source: Santa Clarita News