Tuesday, February 20 , 2018, 10:22 pm | Fair 43º


A Worthy New Year’s Resolution: Become a CASA Volunteer to Help an Abused or Neglected Child

New year’s resolutions typically focus on self-improvement: Lose weight, stop smoking, exercise more often. This year, why not resolve to do something even more lasting: Improve the life of a child who has suffered abuse and neglect?

As a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), volunteers receive in-depth training to advocate in court and in the community for the needs and rights of children in foster care. CASA volunteers come from all walks of life and professions, and share one thing in common: They care about kids.

“Volunteers get to know the child they represent by talking with everyone in that child's life: parents and relatives, foster parents, teachers, medical professionals, attorneys and social workers," said Kim Davis, executive director of the CASA of Santa Barbara County. "They use the information they gather to inform judges and others about the child’s needs and what will be the best permanent home for him or her.”

CASA volunteers complete 30 hours of training. Once they are assigned to a case, they can expect to spend an average of four to eight hours a month getting to know the child, gathering information, exploring resources to meet the child’s needs, representing the child in court and writing a report. Volunteers receive ongoing education and support from the CASA staff.

"Imagine that you are a young child born into a troubled family, uncertain about your future and you are suddenly placed into foster care — for your own good. Wouldn't you want to be the one person in this child's life that he or she could count on? Then become a CASA, I did," CASA volunteer Richard Rojas Sr. said.

For many of the children who CASA serves, their advocate is the only stable, supportive adult in their lives. The advocate’s sole responsibility is to protect the child’s rights and to help find them a safe and nurturing forever home.

Training for new volunteers begins Jan. 14 in Santa Maria and Jan. 16 in Lompoc. To learn more about how you can make a difference in the life of an abused or neglected child in your community, contact Tara Gross at 805.739.9102 x2595 or by email at [email protected]. The volunteer application is also available online by clicking here.

“Becoming an advocate for foster children will be the best resolution you can make for this year or any year,” Davis said.

— Tara Gross is an outreach coordinator for CASA of Santa Barbara County.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >