CASA Volunteers Sworn In
CHILDREN IN NEED RECEIVE A VOICE:
COURT APPOINTED SPECIAL ADVOCATES ARE SWORN IN
~ The Fairfax Court Appointed Special Advocates staff has trained ten new volunteers as advocates who will speak on behalf of abused and neglected children in the Fairfax County area. ~
FAIRFAX (June 30, 2016)- Ten new volunteers have passed background checks, screening and a lengthy interview process in order to undergo the extensive pre-service training that culminated in their swearing in yesterday evening. These volunteers, along with the 150 other Court Appointed Special Advocates serving this fiscal year, have been trained to observe, represent and voice the best interests of children who have been abused and neglected. These volunteers will write court reports with recommendations to the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts in Fairfax County on behalf of those children. Lastly, the CASA volunteers will ensure these children do not feel alone in the chaotic child welfare system.
“Every few days, an abused or neglected child in Fairfax County is placed under Court protection. These children need advocates to protect their fundamental rights. CASA volunteers are the solution. Become a CASA volunteer, donate, encourage others to join our cause. Every child deserves a promising future.” –Darcy Cunningham, Executive Director
Fairfax CASA is a 501(c)(3) public charity (54-1555197), working at the request of the Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court to recruit, train, and supervise citizen volunteers to provide advocacy for abused and neglected children who are under the Court’s protection. The mission of Fairfax CASA is to advocate for the best interests of each abused and neglected child referred by the Fairfax County Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court through the promotion and support of quality volunteer representation. We seek to ensure that each child’s needs are identified and addressed with the goal of living in a safe and permanent home.
Since its founding in 1989, Fairfax Court Appointed Special Advocates has recruited and trained nearly 1,800 CASA volunteers to provide this critical service to more than 6,800 children who have been referred by the Court. Fairfax CASA volunteers have been able to provide a voice to EVERY child with an open abuse and/or neglect case in the Court for the last three years, compared to three years ago when children were unserved and waiting for a CASA volunteer. We have created a comprehensive and nationally recognized volunteer recruitment and training program that is very successful. Our volunteers remain on their cases from beginning to end, in some cases well over five years.
Last year, 342 children in Fairfax County required the Court’s protection because their parents would not, or could not provide for their most basic needs and keep them safe. To meet this need CASA volunteers worked 17,000 hours, making 4,500 visits with 400 children and driving nearly 140,000 miles to advocate for their best interests within the past year.
A Court Appointed Special Advocate has not only an impact on the outcome of the case, but also provides a multitude of positive lifelong effects on a child’s life. Over last two years, 97% of the nearly 3,000 recommendations made to the Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Circuit Court have been adopted by the judges and ordered on behalf of the children we serve. Children with CASA volunteers spend 7.5 months less time in foster care, experience fewer out of home placements and have significantly improved educational performance than their peers without a CASA volunteer. More than 90% of children with CASA volunteers never reenter the child welfare system, a significant difference compared to the general foster care population.
August 6th, 1:00- 2:00 p.m.
Sherwood Regional Library
Prospective and interested volunteers should plan on attending this information session to learn more about the duties involved in becoming a CASA. RSVP to Kristy Tootle, by phone at (703)273-3526 ext. 17 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.