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CASA Grant Supports Children In Need

Today, over half a million children are living in foster care because they have been abused or neglected. Every day in the U.S., another 1,900 children become victims of abuse or neglect, and four of them will die. Every day.

The Hall-Dawson Court Appointed Special Advocate, or CASA, Program is a nonprofit organization of citizen volunteers who advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in courtrooms and communities. Last year, the program served 537 children who were found to be victims of abuse and neglect, according to Executive Director Janet Walden.

“So far this year, we have already served more than 600 children,” she said. “For the first time in more than 25 years of service to abused and neglected children in our community, we have had to prioritize and place children on a waiting list for CASA volunteers. Currently 27 children are awaiting a CASA volunteer.”

CASA’s mission is to “ensure abused and neglected children have the right to a safe placement and permanent home.” CASA provides trained, screened, and supervised volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children requiring court intervention.

“The importance of the CASA relationship with children in foster care is that they exemplify dependability and stability,” said retired Juvenile Court Judge Cliff Jolliff. “The CASA volunteer brings comfort and trust to a system that is alien to most people, especially to a child.”

Hall-Dawson CASA is one of nearly 1,000 local community programs support volunteers serving children. Since 2006, the Jackson EMC Foundation has awarded $23,400 in grants. Most recently to train 25 new volunteers, cover costs for family visitation, and provide special needs funding for 71 children to provide food and clothing.

“We appreciate the partnership we have with the Jackson EMC Foundation. With their support we are able to recruit, train and equip more volunteers so no abused or neglected child will have to wait for their voice to be heard,” Walden said.

To learn more about CASA, visit http://www.halldawsoncasa.org/