Tuesday, May 10, 2011

You can be an advocate for a foster child without being a foster parent

This month is National Foster Care Awareness month. One of the ways I would like to honor it is by bringing awareness to people about the need for mentors and advocates for foster children and youth. Being an advocate does not have to mean you are a foster parent. You can be a teacher, a business man or women, a retiree and be an advocate!

CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) is a great organization that recruits and trains volunteer advocates to come alongside foster children and youth while they are in the child welfare system. These volunteers have a constant voice in the courts, and classrooms and case meetings of a child. All it takes to become an advocate is an interview and 30 hours of training up front. The average advocate spends around 10-15hrs a month volunteering.

You can request to volunteer with a child of any age. The Fresno/Madera CASA is also looking for people who would be willing to serve our older foster youth to help prepare them if and when they age-out of the system.

Does this seem like something you could do? I ran into my favorite teacher in high school several months ago and she told me she had become a CASA advocate. Here she is a full time teacher and yet she could still volunteer!

If you want more information for the Fresno and Madera CASA call 559-244-6485 or email them at casa@casafresno.org. If you are from another county search for your local CASA online at http://www.casaforchildren.org/site/c.mtJSJ7MPIsE/b.5301295/k.BE9A/Home.htm

"Become an everyday hero in the life of a child...become an advocate."-CASA

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