CASA of Arizona has recently been awarded a $200,000 grant from the National CASA Association, to significantly increase the number of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA volunteers) who help local foster children navigate the court system. Only two other state programs received the generous annual “Growth Grant,” including Texas CASA and the state of Florida Guardian ad Litem Program.
The $200,000 “Growth Grant” will provide pass-through funding from CASA of Arizona to CASA of Maricopa County, allowing them to hire four additional CASA volunteer program coordinators to potentially serve hundreds of more children in the foster care system.
“National CASA Association is excited to partner closely with this year’s grant awardees on significant initiatives that promote large-scale collaboration, statewide growth, and our commitment to developing state organizations,” said National CASA CEO Tara Perry. “Projects funded through our 2016 grants program are designed to achieve growth and capacity levels that will take the collaborative work of state organizations and local programs to new levels.”
There are currently around 600 CASA volunteers in Maricopa County. When compared to the nearly 12,000 children in foster care in Maricopa County alone, that means less than one out of 10 children is fortunate enough to be appointed a CASA volunteer. The goal of CASA of Maricopa County and Voices for CASA Children is to have one court appointed special advocate for every foster child, and this grant will help get one step closer to achieving that dream.
“CASA volunteer advocates ensure each and every child in foster care has a voice unique to their specific needs, and are often one of the only constants in their lives,” said Justine Grabowsky, CASA of Maricopa County program director. “We are grateful for National CASA and CASA of Arizona for their steadfast support of CASA of Maricopa County. CASA has a tremendous impact on children in our community and ensures each child remains in the forefront of the complex and changing system, while minimizing the difficulties each child in foster care endures.”
CASA provides front line advocacy for children in foster care, and CASA volunteers speak for the best interests of abused and neglected children whose futures are being decided during juvenile court proceedings. In a child welfare system challenged by increasing caseloads, a CASA volunteer can make the single greatest difference in a child’s life and ensures the child receives services such as therapy, substance abuse counseling, and special medical or educational support during their time living in out of home care.
Voices for CASA Children is always recruiting new advocates to meet the high demand, with several informational events planned over the next several weeks. For more information, visit www.voicesforcasachildren.org.
For more information on CASA of Maricopa County, visit http://www.maricopacasa.org.