CASA volunteers advocate for children

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Individuals who are interested in volunteering as a court appointed special advocate will receive training that will teach them to advocate in court and in the community for the needs and rights of children in foster care.

Volunteers come from all walks of life and professions, according to a press release from CASA for Children of Monmouth County.

“Volunteers get to know the child they represent by talking with everyone in that child’s life: parents and relatives, foster parents, teachers, medical professionals, attorneys, social workers and others. They use the information they gather to inform judges and others of what the child needs and what will be the best permanent home for them,” said Cynthia Van Brunt, executive director, CASA for Children of Monmouth County.

Volunteers complete a 30-hour pre-service training. Once they are assigned to a case, they can expect to spend an average of about 10 hours a month getting to know the child, gathering information, exploring resources to meet the child’s needs, representing the child in court and writing reports, according to the press release.

Volunteers receive ongoing education and support from their local program as well as from the National CASA Association.

“It is one of the most personally rewarding experiences I have ever had,” said local volunteer Ellen Herrick. “For many of the kids I have worked with, I have been one of the only stable, supportive adults in their lives.

“My sole responsibility is to protect their rights and to find them a safe and nurturing forever home. I know I am not just helping these children, but their kids and grandkids and generations of kids to follow,” Herrick said.

An informational session about CASA will be held at 2 p.m. Feb. 27 at 40 Broad St. Suite 202, Eatontown. Call 732-460-9100 or email [email protected] for more information.