November is National Adoption Month and CASA for Children is working to inform the public of the urgent need for families to support vulnerable children in the foster care system.
Across the State of Oklahoma, there are thousands of children in the care of Child Protective Services (CPS) waiting for adoption. CASA for Children is spreading awareness this month and challenging more members of the community to step up to be a part of the solution by becoming a foster parent, adoptive parent, or Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer.
“There are so many children in foster care right here in our hometowns that need a permanent home,” said Suzanne Hughes, Executive Director of CASA for Children. “Our hope is to inform our community that there are a variety of ways that you can support children during National Adoption Month. If fostering or adopting is too much of a commitment, we want people to know that they can still help children find their forever home by becoming a CASA volunteer.”
Children come into the foster care system through no fault of their own due to abuse and neglect, leaving behind the only life they have ever known. For many children, the harsh reality is that they will wait years for a forever family, and will continue bouncing between multiple foster homes until they are finally reunited with their biological family or adopted.
Too often, many of these vulnerable children will spend years in care and ultimately end up aging out of the foster care system without finding a safe, permanent home. Without the proper guidance and direction that a family provides, these youth often face negative outcomes like homelessness, drug addiction, and incarceration.
“Every child deserves a safe, loving home where they can be a kid,” said Hughes. Our goal is to have every child partnered with a CASA volunteer and ultimately reunited with their family, or if that is not an option, adopted into a loving home where they can thrive.”
CASA volunteers are everyday citizens from the community who are screened and trained and appointed by a judge to advocate for a child’s best interest in court. Volunteers are designated to serve one child or sibling group to evaluate their well-being by getting to know them and speaking with any and all relevant contacts in their lives.
CASA volunteers work hard to develop a trusting relationship with these children while collecting important information about their unique physical, emotional and educational needs. They communicate their recommendations to the court in an effort to help children move out of the temporary system and into safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible.
“In addition to the abuse or neglect they’ve endured, these children lack the stability in life needed to grow and often miss out on key parts of childhood while in foster care,” said Hughes. “Our dedicated volunteers work hard to build a positive relationship with these children, and make certain that they provide a voice for them and protect their best interests.”
As we observe National Adoption Month and enter the holiday season, consider fostering, adopting, or becoming a CASA volunteer to ensure that all children get the support they need and deserve; giving them a chance at a brighter future.
Information: www.casaok.org or contact Jenny Crosby at (918) 686-8199 or via email email@example.com.