Voices for Children CASA Informational Meeting
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Voices for Children/CASA Invites Community Members to Learn About
Advocating for Foster Children
Informational meeting on March 28th will teach community members about
opportunities to help foster kids
Cape Girardeau, MO, March 20, 2019 - More than 19,400 children are currently in the custody of Missouri Children’s Division, and in Cape Girardeau, Bollinger and Perry Counties, over 4001 children were brought into their custody in 2017. The children are in need of adults who can provide a voice for them as they make their way through the court system. On Thursday, March 28th at 5:30 p.m., information will be provided about the role of Court Appointed Advocates, CASAs.
The event is open to the public, and adults in the community are encouraged to attend to learn about the different ways they can provide support to local children in the foster care system. The informational meeting will be at Voices for Children/CASA office at 937 Broadway , Suite 201, Cape Girardeau.
“We have an overwhelming number of children in foster care right now who really need support from their community,” said Gina Brockmire, Volunteer Coordinator for Voices for Children/CASA of Southeast Missouri, Inc. “We want people to realize that they can still provide support and a voice for these kids, even if adoption and foster care aren’t an option. Kids in foster care need our voices; we want to show adults how to use them.”
At the meeting, community members can learn about advocating for children within the foster system. Adults can volunteer as Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) for children to provide an objective, unbiased voice as they go through the court system. Cape Girardeau, Perry and Bollinger counties are currently in need of CASA volunteers.
After completing training, CASA volunteers typically commit five to ten hours per month for at least 18 months with their assigned case. CASAs must represent the best interest of the child, be at least 21 years old and be able and willing to submit monthly reports in a timely fashion. Despite the limited time commitment, research has found that children with a CASA spend less time in foster care2, do better in school3, and are more likely to find a safe, permanent home4.
“I think having a representative from Voices for Children/CASA is a huge benefit for families and children in custody,” said Susan E. Bundy, MSW, 32nd Circuit Manager, Missouri Children’s Division. “The representative is not affiliated with Children’s Division, the Juvenile office, or the attorneys on the case, and as such they have a unique perspective. They are able to devote their time as needed with children and develop rapport. The representative is included in all meetings and court appearances in regards to the children with whom they are involved. These volunteers are vested in the children and are very passionate in their work with children. Children placed outside of their home whether it is in foster care, relative home, or a residential facility, all experience trauma and there really cannot be enough people to listen to them, spend time with them, and advocate for them. For anyone considering being a part of this great organization thank you. I think you will find it ultimately rewarding to be such an integral part of a child’s life while going through such a difficult time.”
Voices for Children is a 501(c)3 that trains volunteers to serve as Court Appointed Special Advocates for children in Cape Girardeau, Bollinger and Perry counties in Missouri. These volunteers serve as independent monitors and advocate for abused and neglected children in and out of foster care under the jurisdiction of the 32nd Judicial Circuit Juvenile Court. We strive to ensure that the children’s immediate and long-term needs are met while they wait for a healthy, permanent placement.
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If you would like more information, please contact Gina Brockmire at 573.450.1839.
1 Missouri Department of Social Services., Children’s Division Annual Report Fiscal Year 2017.
2 Cynthia A. Calkins, M.S., and Murray Millar, Ph.D., “The Effectiveness of Court Appointed Special Advocates to Assist in Permanency Planning,” Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, volume 16, number 1, February 1999.
3 University of Houston and Child Advocates, Inc., Making a Difference in the Lives of Abused and Neglected Children: Research on the Effectiveness of a Court Appointed Special Advocate Program.
4 Office of the Inspector General, Audit Report 07-04, December, 2006.