New Year’s resolutions typically focus on self-improvement: lose weight, stop smoking, exercise. This year, why not resolve to do something more lasting? You can resolve to improve the life of a local child by becoming a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). If not in a position to volunteer, you can help by making a financial contribution to CASA of the Mid-Shore.
Working with CASA of the Mid-Shore, CASA volunteers give time, energy, and compassion to create lasting and positive change for local children. Children served by CASA of the Mid-Shore are under the protection of the Circuit Court in Talbot, Dorchester, Queen Anne’s, or Kent County due to serious risk factors such as abuse, neglect, abandonment, or chronic truancy. Many of these children face major barriers during their journeys to safe, permanent homes, often changing schools and foster placements multiple times. Every child deserves individual advocacy regarding their best interest, which is where CASA comes in.
CASA volunteers get to know the child they represent by talking with the child and everyone in that child’s life, such as parents and relatives, foster parents, teachers, medical professionals, attorneys, social workers, and others. They gather information to assist judges and other professionals in making crucial decisions to meet each child’s needs, with the goal of determining the best permanent outcomes for these children. Most importantly, the CASA volunteer gets to know the child, often becoming one of the most consistent adults in the child’s life. “A recent study found that CASA’s involvement helps children feel more hopeful while also helping to improve outcomes for children, which can include safety, permanency, academic success, overall wellbeing, increased self-control, positive social relationships, and optimism,” explains CASA’s Executive Director, Robin Davenport.
Dorchester County resident and CASA Volunteer James Pinkett reflect on his appointed child’s wellbeing and future: “I saw him begin to feel hopeful, because only then could he start to dream about his future. To me, to lift up a child’s life, to offer hope, trust and safety, only then can that child begin to believe in a positive future.”
CASA of the Mid-Shore is currently accepting applications for the next Pre-service Training class. Volunteers from all cultures, ethnicities, and backgrounds are welcomed. We encourage African-American community members to apply. To learn more about becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate visit casamidshore.org or email [email protected].