The courtroom can be a scary, confusing place for a child. The Center for Human Development’s Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Hampden County gives kids a voice in the courts, advocating for local children being placed in foster care or searching for permanent homes.
CASA is seeking new volunteers to serve as advocates for children in need in the community. Program staff will host virtual information sessions through March 2022 to help prospective volunteers learn more about the role in advance of the program’s next round of training, which begins on April 28.
Volunteers in the program, also known as “CASAs,” advocate for children who have protective cases in Hampden County Juvenile Court due to abuse or neglect and ensure they can be safe, live in a permanent home, and have the opportunity to thrive.
CASAs share important information about children involved in each case with presiding judges, including educational, medical and therapy records, to help them see the full picture. They also meet with other adults involved in the case and make recommendations to protect each child’s mental and physical well-being.
In many cases, a CASA is the only consistent adult presence in a foster child’s life.
CASA-supported kids are more likely to find a safe, permanent home and succeed in school. They’re also half as likely to re-enter the foster care system. CASAs work to make the courtroom a place of healing and new beginnings.
During the virtual information sessions, prospective volunteers will learn more about how they can make a vital impact in the lives of children in need and what they can expect from training. All volunteers are completely supported by CASA staff throughout their training and as they begin taking cases once training is complete. Virtual info sessions will take place during the following times:
- Wednesday, March 2, 7:00 p.m.
- Wednesday, March 9, 7:00 p.m.
- Wednesday, March 16, 7:00 p.m.
- Wednesday, March 23, 7:00 p.m.
- Wednesday, March 30, 7:00 p.m.
Current CASA volunteer Cecile Mujawimana said her training was extensive, but worth it. “I have been a foster mother for a long time,” she said. “Without this program, the children wouldn’t have anyone who speaks to the court on their behalf. This is a wonderful service.”