There is a prevalent and growing problem affecting children and families in our community and across the state: The epidemic of child abuse and neglect.
Last year (FY19) in Idaho, a total of 3,657 children were in an Out-Of-Home Placement or Protective Supervision during the year.
822 of these children were in the foster care system right here in the 4th Judicial District (Ada, Boise, Elmore, and Valley Counties).
In our opinion, even one child is too many, and we believe it’s our role as a community to strengthen families and keep kids safe.
Today, we’re proud to say there are 267 dedicated members of our community who are doing their part and taking a stand against child abuse and neglect. These individuals, called Court Appointed Special Advocates (aka CASA volunteers), and Guardian ad Litem (GAL) pro bono attorneys, are part of an inspiring and ever-growing movement spreading throughout Idaho.
CASA volunteers are everyday people who do extraordinary work by choosing to speak up for children in the foster care system. Specially trained and appointed by judges, CASA volunteers serve one child or sibling group by looking after their physical, emotional and psychological well-being, and ensure that this child (or children) has a voice for the duration of their time in child protection. By standing up for them and their best interests, these volunteers are giving these kids a better chance at a safe, happy future, while helping to break the cycle for the next generation.
Though statewide numbers indicate that the foster care system is growing, our movement is stepping up to serve more of these children than ever before. For example, last year, through the collective power of the CASA community, more than 2,000 children were served in Idaho by a landmark 596 CASA volunteers statewide. Today, in the 4th Judicial District alone, more children than ever before have a dedicated advocate and GAL pro bono attorney at their side to provide them with a better chance at a brighter future.
April 19-25, was National Volunteer Appreciation Week, and we ask you to help us thank the CASA volunteers in our community and across the state for their service to our most vulnerable children. In addition to celebrating the CASA volunteers – and all the other volunteers in your community who offer their time and talents to make our society safer, healthier, and stronger – we ask you to consider joining our movement.
There is no special background or education required to become a CASA volunteer, just the desire to help children who have been abused and neglected. These children need someone who will stay by their side and speak up for their best interests during this difficult time in their life. By acting as the eyes and ears for the Courts and providing critical insights into the unique needs of the children they serve, CASA volunteers are actively a part of the solution.
We need people like you to step up to ensure that every child in Idaho has a voice that is being heard. All children deserve a chance at a bright future, and you could be that chance. So, what do you say?
Will you take a stand and join us?