CASA of Middlesex County (Court Appointed Special Advocates) helped nearly 110 children in foster care in 2018, opened a record number of new cases in Fall 2018 and helped guide the handling of these sensitive cases so children could find safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible.
“We had a great year, with many new volunteers coming on board to ensure these vulnerable children receive the support and services they need while in foster care,’’ Stephanie Brown, director of CASA of Middlesex County, said in a prepared statement. “We are now actively recruiting additional volunteers because there are still far too many children who lack a caring adult looking out solely for their best interests.’’
The private, non-profit organization is hosting a complimentary wine & cheese party on Jan. 31 at Lago – Restaurant & Banquet Hall in North Brunswick to share information about becoming a CASA volunteer.
“We will have current volunteers on hand to share their experiences as a CASA and we will walk folks through the process of becoming an advocate, as well as explain the support we provide to our volunteers,’’ Brown said in the statement. “All those interested in volunteering are encouraged to attend.’’
Middlesex County CASA currently serves about 21 percent of the 522 children in foster care in Middlesex County. Research shows that children without a CASA, on average, spend more time in foster care, struggle more in school and are more likely to return to foster care because of repeat abuse, Brown said.
“Children living in foster care have suffered trauma, abuse and neglect,” Brown said in the statement. “They are often confused and fearful of their uncertain future. Our CASA volunteers are on the front lines with these children, looking out solely for their best interests.’’
The organization recruits, trains and supports volunteers, equipping them with the knowledge and tools they need to succeed in helping children in foster care. In late 2018, CASA of Middlesex welcomed 11 new advocates and hopes to recruit even more in the first half of 2019, according to Brown.
“Our volunteers are the heart and soul of our work,’’ she said in the statement. “Their selfless dedication has helped hundreds of children in foster care to get the services they need while in care and to more quickly be placed in safe, permanent homes. This is an incredibly rewarding way to help children and give back to the community.’’