African-American Volunteer Needs
Our Children Need a Voice!
African-American Volunteers Can Make A Difference!
The Alexandria/Arlington Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Program is in need of African-American volunteers to advocate on behalf of children caught up in the complex court system. You can be the difference in the life of a child.
What is the CASA Program?
The Alexandria/Arlington Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program has helped hundreds of abused and neglected children within the court system. The program trains community members to act as advocates on behalf of children who have been abused or neglected by their families or caretakers. CASA Volunteers act as the voice of a abused children and ensure that their best interest is kept at the forefront of their court cases.
Why do we Need African-American Volunteers?
Children of color are disproportionately represented in the child welfare system.
For example, in Alexandria, approximately 30 percent of all children are African-American, but close to 60 percent of children to whom CASA is appointed are African-American. In Arlington, approximately 12 percent of children are African-American, but almost 30 percent of the children to whom CASA is appointed are African-American.
The role of a CASA Volunteer is to advocate on behalf of children in the child welfare system. As an advocate for children, CASA Volunteers make recommendations to the court about what is in the best interest of the child. They also work with lawyers, social workers, and other community members to: help ensure that families are receiving the services that are necessary to work towards a resolution; help parents comply with their requirements for reunification; work to find permanency for the child; and work towards reducing the length of time the child spends in foster care.
Currently, there are not enough African-American CASA Volunteers to advocate on behalf of African-American children. Research has shown that children identify with people who look like them. This is why CASA needs you, because in order for a child to open up and really let the adult know how he or she is feeling, he or she need to feel trust. You are familiar with his or her culture and traditions, you know his or her fears and dreams. You can make the difference between whether he or she stays in school or ends up in jail. And if you think you are not qualified to volunteer, don’t worry. CASA will train you so that you will be able to help these children.
An African-American CASA Volunteer can offer African-American children and their families a level of support that non-African-American volunteers simply cannot. The positive influences of having an African-American leader, an advocate who has the ability to make a difference in how their lives turn out can be a powerful motivator for children and families. Having a volunteer they can identify with and who understands the culture and family traditions of African-American families can help to increase family cooperation and compliance.
How Can I Become a CASA Volunteer?
To take the first step toward becoming a CASA Volunteer, please visit our volunteer page.