CASA a Valued Champion for Kids

Deborah Vetter reports CASA a valued champion for kids in yesterday's Courier-Journal, a timely topic for those whose New Year resolutions include seeking opportunities to volunteer for worthy causes. Many more volunteers are needed, and these dedicated folks really can make a difference in the lives of abused and neglected children. Some quotes from the article:

At a time of growing caseloads and increasingly complex situations of abuse and neglect -- often fueled by drugs and alcohol -- judges say the CASA volunteers are becoming increasingly important.

The advocates generally handle one case at a time, while busy social workers may have 15 to 20 or more.

"CASA makes a tremendous difference," said Jefferson Family Court Judge Patricia Walker FitzGerald. "I wish we could have a CASA volunteer for every child in the system."

Jefferson County's CASA has about 170 volunteers, while Family Court judges last year handled 3,500 cases of abuse or neglect.

Though judges acknowledge they probably will never have enough volunteers to appoint a CASA worker for every case in family court, they wish there were many more.

"A lot of times, CASA is the only primary, consistent person in the child's life," said Stephen M. George, chief judge of Jefferson Family Court.

How to volunteer? A vist to the volunteer page on the CASA website is a good place to start.