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.
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