Pierce County CASA is launching a campaign to recruit 253 new CASAs. “CASA 253” will feature an online presence in social media, speakers, flyers posted around town and it coincides with the programs “Pinwheels for Prevention” campaign where displays of pinwheels are planted all around the County during April which is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The pinwheels symbolize the fun and carefree childhood that every kid deserves.
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) are trained volunteers who ensure that children in the foster care system are heard and that their best interests are served.
CASA Kelsey was the advocate for four children between the ages of 4 and 9. They were placed in foster care because their mother Lily’s addiction to methamphetamine overpowered her ability to be an attentive parent. All four kids told Kelsey over and over how much they loved their mom and wanted to go home. Kelsey truly believed that the very best thing for these kids was to be back home with a healthy, drug-free mom, so she set about advocating for just that. She removed any obstacles that were preventing Lily from getting into treatment. As the mom put it, “Kelsey made me feel like she believed in me before I believed in myself and I held on to that feeling throughout the case”
Ultimately, all four kids were returned to Lily, who now helps other parents make their way through the CPS/foster system on their way to reuniting with their children. Lily says, “I know Kelsey was my kids’ CASA, but I call her ‘my CASA’ because without her on the case, we would not be together now.”
The CASA program was founded here in Washington State in 1977. Now there are CASA Programs operating in 49 states. CASAs receive 30 hours of pre-service training, as well as ongoing training, and serve under the supervision of a CASA Coordinator coach.
Pierce County’s CASA 253 campaign is holding two information sessions at an open house on Wednesday, April 26th. The first session will be from 2:00- 3:00 p.m., and the second from 5:30- 6:30 p.m. Both sessions will be a Pierce County Juvenile Court, 5501 6th Ave. Follow the signs.
The CASA Program invites you to visit their website at piercecasa.org. You can also call Carrie Appling at 253.798.3837 for more information. CASA training is held nearly every month throughout the year.
There are 250 other Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) just like Kelsey – and just like you – in Pierce County’s CASA program. But we need about 250 more. There are 1600 children in foster care on any given day in our community. Each one of those children needs an advocate – someone looking out for them to make sure they are doing well and that their case is moving along on a child’s timeline.
Please consider being an advocate for our most vulnerable little citizens. We need 253 volunteers – just like you. #CASA253.