April is National Volunteer Month and CASA of Santa Cruz County expresses our deepest appreciation for the men and women who stand up for abused and neglected children in Arizona. These dedicated Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) volunteers are making a difference in children’s lives, giving them a voice in court and advocating for their best interest.

This month is dedicated in honoring all of the volunteers in our community as well as encouraging volunteerism throughout the year.

CASA of Arizona and its volunteers have been advocating for abused and neglected children in Arizona for over 35 years and have served more than 25,000 children. Today, there are over 14,000 children in Arizona who have been removed from their homes due to abuse and/or neglect.

CASA volunteers are not only efficient, they’re effective, too. Studies have shown that a child in foster care that is assigned a CASA volunteer is more likely to succeed in school, more likely to find a safe, permanent home, and half as likely to re-enter the foster care system.

A CASA is the one person in a child’s life who isn’t paid to show up. This means the world to a child in foster care.

How can you make a difference? Become a CASA volunteer! Court Appointed Special Advocates are everyday community members who donate their time to be the voice for a child. CASA volunteers visit with the children regularly. They follow the progress of the child’s court case, speak with important people in the child’s life, and report their observations back to the court so the judge can make informed decisions on behalf of the child.

No specific background or training is needed to become a volunteer CASA advocate. Anyone 21 or older who can pass a thorough background check and complete 30 hours of free training is encouraged to apply.

To learn more about how you can make a difference in the life of an abused or neglected child here in our community, contact CASA of Santa Cruz County. Learn more at www.casaofsantacruzcounty.org or mfish@courts.az.gov.

Margie Fish

CASA of Santa Cruz County

Nogales

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