Chautauqua County is fortunate to have a volunteer-based organization, Court Appointed Special Advocates of Chautauqua County Inc., which provides advocacy for children placed in foster care because they have been the victims of neglect or abuse,
CASA creates the opportunity for a trained volunteer to provide one-on-one help for a child going through the trauma of being removed from an unsafe home and placed in foster care. As the child moves though the system, many caring adults are part of the journey. But these adults are frequently overburdened. For various reasons, children may be moved from foster home to foster home which may require changes in schools and with separation from siblings.
The CASA volunteer helps the children understand and deal with the changes in their lives. And of utmost importance is the fact that the CASA volunteer provides consistency while advocating for these children who are in foster care. The CASA volunteer receives training in preparation for becoming the voice of the child. The volunteer becomes familiar with family members, school personnel, and health care providers. The CASA volunteer visits with the child, prepares written court reports detailing the findings and speaks for the child's best interests.
However, because more volunteers are needed, only some children have the benefit of a CASA, a Court Appointed Special Advocate. Becoming a CASA volunteer is a rewarding way to help the most vulnerable, an abused or neglected child.
For information about becoming a CASA volunteer, call 753-4123 or 753-4132. An informational meeting will be held at the Masonic Lodge in Fredonia at 10:15 a.m. on Friday.