The month of May is National Foster Care Month, a time to recognize the critical role that we each can play in transforming the lives of foster youth in our communities. There are currently more than 14,000 children in foster care in Arizona, many of whom are legally free for adoption and awaiting permanent families. Approximately 180 of these children are from Gila County communities.
Thousands of committed foster parents, social workers, advocates, professionals, and volunteers work tirelessly to protect and nurture these vulnerable children and find them a permanent, stable place to call home but there is more the community can do to help.
“When a child in foster care has a Court Appointed Special Advocate voicing their needs, they spend less time in foster care.” said Emily Nader, CASA Coordinator. “The child is surrounded by caring adults who are working to provide services to their family, but a CASA is a consistent person who advocates only for the best interest of the child. We work as a team to help these children heal from the trauma they once endured and reach a permanent and safe closure.”
In honor of National Foster Care Month, we encourage the community to learn more about the many ways you can impact the lives of these children. You can make a difference by:
• Becoming a foster or adoptive parent.
• Volunteering as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) to speak up on behalf of these children in court.
• Serving on the Foster Care Review Board (FCRB) to review the case status of children in your county.
• Helping spread the word in your community by organizing an event, speaking to a community group, or hosting a training.
• Support the agencies that endeavor to meet the unmet needs of foster children such as Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation or Arizona Helping Hands.
For more information on National Foster Care Month, visit www.childwelfare.gov/fostercaremonth/. For more information about CASA of Gila County, contact Emily Nader at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.CASAofGilaCounty.org.