A School Year of Success

  As we celebrate the approach of the end of the school year and start of the summer season, I have to stop and think about all the children that have successfully completed the school year and are in a safe, stable home this year thanks in part to the work done by their CASA volunteers and supporters of the program. There are no limits to the work a CASA does to ensure the well-being of a child in the foster care system. Volunteers have done such an amazing list of things recently, it's impossible to chose the best to share with you. 
       13 year old Daniel was a difficult child struggling in school with his anger and only achieving D's. He was in a foster home that was too busy to pay attention to him and he was slipping away. His CASA, Candace,  however, was persistent. She saw potential in him. She learned his grandmother wished to take guardianship of him, and a cousin who also lived with her was willing to tutor Daniel. Candace spoke to Daniel's school weekly to identify his needs and networked to make sure they were met.  She visited him regularly to make sure he had support. Candace spoke up, advocated and educated everyone in Daniel's life until the Judge ordered that Daniel be moved to live with his Grandmother. Daniels' cousin began tutoring him and the extra school support that Candace identified was put in place. 

      Today Daniel is finishing the school year with A's and B's. His anger is under control and he is on his way to living permanently under his grandmother's guardianship.  This was a good school year for Daniel. He found a safe stable home. He is successful in school. For the first time in a long time, he is happy.  Thanks to his CASA.  Candace made a lifelong difference to Daniel. 

Can you be the difference to a child like Daniel? Over 300 children are waiting.
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Join the Village of a Child in Foster Care

As cliche as the saying has become, there is truth in the saying, “it takes a village to raise a child.” Every child, regardless of the origin of their birth or the circumstances of their childhood does need a community of caring, supportive adults to serve as a role model to guide them into successful adulthood. Some children are blessed with large extended families to fulfill this role beyond the nurturing received from their parents. Other parents rely on a collection of friends and neighbors to be the “village” for their child- still loving and caring for that child as if they were blood. 

What happens when the village that a child is born into isn’t strong enough to support them long term? When a child’s parents do not have a strong support system to fall back on when needed? Or worse, when a child is abused or neglected to a point that they can’t stay in the family they were born into?  Ideally, we’d love to say this is when the village steps in to help and care for the child. In many cases, this can and does happen, however, there are hundreds of children in foster care each year in Passaic County because they did not have a village of caring supportive adults to rely on when home because too unsafe to remain.

Once a child is in foster care, the need for a village grows even more. They are suddenly thrown into a world of caseworkers, attorneys, court hearings, unfamiliar homes, foster parents, separation from siblings, and more. A child needs these people, but also needs someone to help guide them through the chaos, stay with them along the journey and ensure that the child does not get lost in the paperwork. A CASA volunteer is a key member of a child’s village while they are in the foster care system and a person who will accomplish exactly these things. A CASA will ensure that the child does not fall through the gaps of the system, has a voice both in court, at school and in the child welfare system. A CASA volunteer walks alongside the child until a safe, and permanent home—one that ideally comes with a strong supportive village is found again.

This year, can you help join the village of a child in foster care as their CASA volunteer? Click here to take the first step by attending one of our upcoming orientation sessions.