Voices for Children transforms the lives of abused, abandoned, or neglected children by providing them with trained, volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs). CASAs act as fact-finders for the judges, who oversee an average of 500 cases, providing them with information that they may never get otherwise. CASAs gather information from Court documents, social workers’ files, and educational, medical, and therapy records.
They also speak with the child, family members, school officials, health care providers, and other professionals involved in the child’s life. CASAs use this information, as well as firsthand observations, to advocate for the child in Court and school, and in other aspects of their lives. The CASA’s role is to consider what is in the child’s best interest and to make sure that each child’s individual needs are met.
CASAs visit with their case children at least once a month. This provides the children with stability and consistency and allows the CASAs to better understand the needs of the children, as well as the children themselves. Some CASAs build and maintain positive, trusting relationships with their case children, much like mentors.
The 19th circuit covers Martin, St Lucie, Okeechobee and Indian River Counties. There are 519 open cases representing 836 children with 353 volunteers.
More volunteers are needed and someone with grant writing experience would be very welcome. For more information or to volunteer contact www.circuit19.org.
Exchange Club of Sebastian