We see news stories every day about children taken from an abusive home, or because of the tragic loss of a parent-to illness or violence or incarceration. We assume there must be a program or system that will take care of these children and make sure they are treated with dignity, given a safe place they can recover from their hardship and be a child again.
But there is a story behind the story that few people speak about. It is the story of overburdened foster care and child welfare systems that–though full of well-intentioned and deeply committed people–cannot begin to meet the needs of the more than 660,000 children in foster care in the United States.
It is the story of a six year old girl who has moved to six group homes and three schools over the last two years. The story of a toddler separated from her brothers and sisters during the most vulnerable time in her life. The story of a child being handed all his belongings in a plastic bag at the age of 18, because he has “aged out” of the system.
It is a story that occurs over and over again in America’s foster care and child welfare system.
But these stories can have better endings, because there is a group of trained volunteers, appointed by judges to advocate for these children. People who fight for these abused and neglected children, to make sure their basic rights and essential needs don’t get overlooked or ignored by the system. These stories can have better endings because of people like you.
We are Court Appointed Special Advocates or CASA’s. This volunteer-powered network of committed people who believe society has a fundamental obligation to these children.