CASA of Gila County is in critical need to increase the number of dedicated members of the community to step up and become Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers, and help break the cycle of abuse and neglect, through supporting children and families.
There are over 14,000 children in out of home care (foster care, relative placement, group home, etc.) in Arizona as of January 2020. Currently there are 1,200 CASA volunteers serving 2,200 children in the foster care system, which means roughly 12,000 children are left without a CASA to advocate for them. There is still a tremendous need for CASA volunteers, and the need is most critical now, more than ever. Reports of family violence in China, where COVID-19 (coronavirus) originated, have reportedly tripled since the pandemic began. It is expected we will experience the same phenomenon in the coming months. During periods of natural disasters, financial stress or global panics such as viral pandemics, studies show that abusers become more violent in an attempt to feel a sense of control.
CASA of Gila County is doing everything we can to encourage our community to take notice and report suspected abuse, but we need to prepare for a significant increase in case numbers in the wake of this crisis.
We are making the plea to our communities to suit up and prepare to be the voice for the most vulnerable among us.
CASA volunteers, or Court Appointed Special Advocates, are everyday people who are recruited and specially trained to advocate for children in foster care and provide a consistent, reliable adult presence for them during a difficult time in their life.
Training will be provided to prepare CASA Volunteers to answer the call in the aftermath of the current public health crisis. We are currently offering a new flexible pre-service training in an online interactive virtual environment. There will be multiple options for class times, so you are able to pick the time that would work best for your schedule.
The online sessions introduce the participants to the key elements for CASA volunteer work, allowing you to interact with others, explore new ideas, and obtain tools for effective child advocacy. The virtual classroom sessions use case studies to introduce participants to a variety of dynamics including poverty, mental health issues, substance abuse, domestic violence, etc. By using this method, volunteers not only obtain experience with different types of cases but also learn how to gather information thoroughly.
CASA of Gila County always hopes for the day when CASA Volunteers are no longer needed because all children are growing up safe, secure and supported with their families. Until then, we will continue to seek more members of the community to help grow our movement so that we can provide a CASA volunteer for every child who needs one.
Volunteers come in all shapes and sizes. No specific background or training is needed to become a CASA volunteer. Anyone 21 years of age or older, who can pass a thorough background check and complete 30 hours of free training, is encouraged to apply.
To learn more about becoming a CASA Volunteer, call us at 928-402-4427, email [email protected] or visit our website at www.CASAofGilaCounty.org.