News

A Year in Review

Every June 30 marks the end of the year at CASA. This year, however, June 30 was the end of an extra special year. Fiscal year 2017-2018 was Passaic County Court Appointed Special Advocate's 10th year of service to the county's children in foster care. We have a lot to celebrate after 10 years of recruiting, training, and supervising volunteers to advocate for the best interests of children in the court, child welfare, and educational systems.

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As the Executive Director for all 10 of those years, I have been honored to lead this organization as we've grown from a small startup in borrowed office space in 2007 to our current size of 11 staff and almost 100 active volunteer advocates. In those 10 years we have moved three times to accommodate our growing needs for more office and training space as we served more children each year.

I am thrilled to announce that due to the advancements made by staff and board members recently during our 10th Anniversary year, we will be moving to even larger space within our current complex this fall. This means even more children will have the opportunity to have their needs met. Stay tuned for more details!

In the past year, we hosted our 10th Anniversary Voices for Children Gala which raised more than $108,000 to support additional children in the coming year. This will now be an annual event and we hope you'll join us at this year's Gala on September 28, 2018! 

Thirty volunteers were sworn in as new advocates this year and are actively serving children that are in need of their voices. 250 children had their best interests advocated for by a CASA volunteer during fiscal year 2018, which is a 20% increase over the prior year. 

Each day, referrals for more children in need of a Court Appointed Special Advocate come into our office. These are children who are victims of physical abuse, neglect, children exposed to domestic violence and substance abuse and sometimes children who are abandoned. 

Each of these children deserves a voice, an advocate, while they navigate the chaos of the system that will determine their future. More than 300 Passaic County children go through the system each year without an advocate simply due to a limited number of volunteers. 

You can be that voice. You can support that child. Volunteer, donate, attend an event, decide to learn more about CASA in our new year to make a difference to one of our 300 waiting children. 

- Erica Fischer-Kaslander
  Executive Director 

CASA kicks off school supply drive

Help us ensure that our CASA children start off the school year on the right foot – and with new school supplies in hand.

Many of the kids we serve won’t be going back-to-school shopping with mom or dad come August. In the fall, some of our children will start the school year at a brand-new, completely unfamiliar school because they've moved foster homes. All of them need school supplies to make the transition into the new year just a little bit easier. 

Suggested donations include backpacks, composition and spiral notebooks, three-ring binders, writing utensils, folders, calculators, etc. All items must be new.

Besides physically equipping the children with backpacks filled to the brim, the school supply drive also provides children in foster care with confidence and some much needed excitement.

 “A child in foster care is unable to focus on school or be excited about starting school like other youth may be because they often do not have the same level of support or preparation for the school year,” said Passaic County CASA Executive Director Erica Fischer-Kaslander. “By ensuring that they have proper supplies for their grade and class through our advocacy and supply collections, CASA is one step closer to ensuring a child has a chance at a successful, safe, and permanent childhood home.”

All school supply donations may be dropped off at the Passaic County CASA for Children office, located at 415 Hamburg Turnpike, Suite B1, in Wayne. Donations will be accepted through Friday, August 24. For more information contact Pam Saunders at 973-832-4002 or pam@passaiccountycasa.org.

Fourteen new advocates join CASA to speak up for children

Passaic County children in foster care now have 14 new Court Appointed Special Advocates to speak up for their best interests.

Superior Court Judges Imre Karaszegi and Vicki Citrino confirmed the new volunteer advocates in two swearing-in ceremonies at the Passaic County Superior Court in Paterson. 

Each Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteer will now be assigned to a child who has been removed from home and placed into foster care due to allegations of abuse or neglect. The volunteer will get to know the child; gather information about the child’s educational, medical, emotional, and physical needs; speak with all of the people in the child’s life; and make informed recommendations to the Family Court Judge about what is in the child’s best interest.

We are thrilled to have these passionate, dedicated, and just generally wonderful volunteers join the CASA family.  Congrats! 

Spring 2018 Court Appointed
Special Advocates

  • Jill ReBeor
  • Julie McGraw 
  • Laura Warne
  • Paula Rindner
  • Robyn Tanis
  • Tina Shark
  • Vera Evangelista
  • Ana Montiel
  • Christina Haywood
  • Diane Iapoce
  • Donna Ward
  • Frank Minutolo
  • Ingrid Nagy
  • Janet Cassidy