CASA volunteers collect donations to benefit local foster children

CASA Volunteer Betty Miller, of Scottsdale, was among volunteers who collected toys, books, blankets, and pajamas for their assigned foster child during Voices for CASA Children’s annual Jingle & Mingle event, held Dec. 16 at El Zaribah Shrine in Phoenix. (Submitted photo)

Local foster children benefitted from the annual Jingle & Mingle CASA holiday party, hosted by Voices for CASA Children, a local nonprofit organization serving foster children in Maricopa County and the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA volunteers), who support them.

Hundreds of CASA volunteers  met on Dec. 16 at El Zaribah Shrine, in Phoenix, and chose from thousands of collected toys, books, blankets, pajamas and more to give to their assigned foster children during the holiday season, according to a press release.

Since many of the 12,000 abused or neglected children in Maricopa County’s foster care system reportedly never experienced the joy of a holiday celebration, Voices for CASA Children, CASA of Maricopa County, and their partners wanted to give them a reason to smile this season, with donations provided by several partners including The Salvation Army, Arizona Blankets 4 Kids, Pajama Program and more, added the release.

“This is one of the most cherished events Voices for CASA Children puts on each year, because it brings together hundreds of caring and dedicated Court Appointed Special Advocates to celebrate a year of effort helping local foster children have a brighter future,” said Robin Pearson, executive Director for Voices for CASA Children, in a prepared statement. “We are so thankful to everyone who donated, and the advocates can’t wait to see the look on the children’s faces when they deliver these gifts to them before the holidays.”

As an officer of the court, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA volunteers) visits the foster child and anyone involved in his or her life, from foster parents, to teachers and doctors. A Court Appointed Special Advocate serves as the eyes and ears for the judge and submits a report before each court hearing with recommendations about the child’s best interest, detailed the release.

A CASA volunteer is often the most consistent person in a foster child’s life and is valuable because he or she typically focuses on one child or sibling group at a time. Children with a CASA volunteer, assigned to their case, are more likely to receive services, spend less time in the child welfare system and are less likely to return to foster care, the release noted.

Voices for CASA Children, established in 2011 and is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is dedicated to bringing a “voice” to every abused and neglected child in state dependency and supports expansion of the CASA program in Maricopa County, added the release.

Since there are too many children in care, this puts a continued burden on the child welfare system and creates a greater need for volunteer advocates, the release added, encouraging more volunteers. For information, go to voicesforcasachildren.org.

 

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