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CASA for Children of Monmouth brings hope to children in foster care

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Children of Monmouth is looking forward to 2023 and the joy the new year will hopefully bring with it.

CASA of Monmouth finished 2022 with gifts for nearly 200 foster children who are in the county child welfare system. Through the CASA of Monmouth annual holiday wish list, foster children served by CASA advocates received gifts to celebrate the holidays, according to a press release.

Every year, CASA of Monmouth looks to fulfill the wishes from the children served by the program. This effort is undertaken through the generosity of CASA volunteers, CASA staff, the CASA Executive Board, community members and local business sponsors.

This was the sixth year in a row the designers of Town & Country Design Studio, Red Bank, decorated gift bags and filled them with presents for the foster children. Their designers personally decorated bags that brought happiness to more than 100  children, according to the press release.

“The holiday season is always a time to open our hearts, and our community and volunteers did not disappoint the foster children we serve so they can experience the joy every child deserves during the holidays,” said Marielaina LaRosa, director of community development.

“We generate a wish list with three or four items for each child and share it through our social media. We were overwhelmed by the immediate response. The magic of the season took on a life of its own after that. Our supporters should know they brought tears of joy to these very special children with every donation,” LaRosa said.

Court Appointed Special Advocates are trained volunteers from the community who work with children in the child welfare system who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect, according to the press release.

Advocates are assigned to the foster children by a Family Court judge to advocate for the needs of the children and to work toward a permanent safe home.

Advocates meet with the children monthly or more often to check on their well-being and to provide reports to the court. The advocates work to ensure the children do not fall through the cracks of the child welfare system, according to the press release.

The ultimate goal of the CASA program is always reunification with a child’s family if it is safe – or other caring relatives or foster parents ready to adopt.

CASA for Children of Monmouth will begin training a new class of advocates in March to be the “voice” for a child in foster care. For more information about becoming an advocate or donating to foster children, call 732-460-9100 or visit www.casaofmonmouth.org.

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