HENRICO CO., Va. (WRIC) — Henrico CASA, the organization of Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children, is looking for volunteers to make a difference in the lives of abused and neglected children for the 2015-2016 fiscal year.
“CASA is the reason why I’m standing here talking to you today,” says Allison Gilbreath, who was assigned to a CASA advocate as a child, after issues arose in her home.
She says her experience with CASA proved to be life changing.
“There’s nothing like that one CASA, for who you are their sole focus,” Allison said. :She paid so much attention to just me personally and I can’t even tell you in words the tremendous difference CASA has made in my life.”
According to Henrico CASA’s annual report, a child in Virginia is abused or neglected every 77 minutes. That’s a statistic which CASA volunteers, who are also sworn officers of the court, work continuously to decrease.
Barbara Herzog, Executive Director of Henrico CASA says, “Our CASA volunteers visit the home, they talk to the schools, the daycare… just about anyone who has something to do with the child. So we really are fact-finders for the court; the eyes and ears of the judge so to speak.”
And their success rate speaks volumes. According to their annual report, the courts act on 98% of the recommendations made by CASA advocates, resulting in zero new cases of abuse while for the children which Henrico CASA represented.
Given her own experience, Allison says her CASA advocate would inspire what is now her life’s work, dedicating her life to helping children. She later became a CASA volunteer herself and is now working on getting her masters in social work.
“My overall goal is to be an advocate for children, whether that’s through the state and changing policy or through a non-profit, as long as the goal remains that I make a difference in the lives of children,” she said. “That’s all that matters.”
To become a CASA volunteer, you must complete a 40 hour training course, starting september 26th. Applications are due Friday, September 11th.
For more information please visit: http://www.casaforchildren.org/site/c.mtJSJ7MPIsE/b.5301309/k.9D58/Volunteering.htm