More than 300 children in the YK Delta region are in the State of Alaska’s child protection system because of abuse or neglect. To help meet their needs, the state Office of Public Advocacy plans to expand its Court Appointed Special Advocate® (CASA) program to the Bethel area this fall.
In an overburdened system, abused and neglected children are at risk of slipping through the cracks among hundreds of current cases. CASA volunteers change that. CASA volunteers typically handle just one case at a time—and commit to staying on that case until permanency is achieved for the child. While others may come and go, CASA volunteers provide that one constant adult presence that children need.
YK Delta CASA is looking for caring adults interested in becoming a voice for these children; no special education or background is required. As a CASA volunteer, you will receive training from professionals in the legal and children’s services fields and the complete support of professional CASA program staff to help you through each case.
Duties of the CASA volunteer complement but do not duplicate the duties of other responsible persons involved in abuse or neglect cases, such as social workers and attorneys. With the support and supervision provided by a guardian ad litem (GAL), the CASA volunteer gathers and assesses information, develops recommendations, and submits written and verbal reports which are considered by the court to aid in its decisions about the best course of action for the child. CASA volunteers have the time and commitment to thoroughly get to know the facts of the case, establish a relationship with the child, and follow through on the monitoring process until the child is reunified with the parents or placed in another safe, permanent home.
The very first YK Delta CASA volunteer training class begins in October 2010. If you are interested in participating in this unique, challenging, and rewarding volunteer opportunity or want to learn more about the YK Delta CASA program, please contact Carla Snow, program coordinator, by e-mail at CASA-YKDelta@alaska.gov or Jenny Murray, Rural Program Coordinator, at 1-877-957-3500.
For more information about the Alaska CASA program we invite you to visit our website at www.alaskacasa.org.