Volunteers Needed To Help Hawaii’s Keiki
By Ken Bailey, president, Friends of CASA- Hawaii
The Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is part of a national organization of volunteers who judges appoint to speak for the safety and well-being of abused and neglected children.
There are CASA programs on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island. These programs train and support volunteers to act as advocates for the best interests of children in the Family Court system.
I have been a volunteer for seven years and continue to be amazed at the number of vulnerable children right here in our own communities. Imagine what it would be like to lose your parents, not because of something you did, but because they can’t, or won’t, take care of you.
What is most surprising – and disheartening – is that during this incredibly vulnerable time in a young life, the foster care and family court system are simply too overworked to deal with the unique needs and rights of each child. As a result, too many children in the system get bounced from house to house, sometimes having to change schools five or six times in just a couple of years. Often siblings get split up because there isn’t enough room for larger families.
These children deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. They deserve the chance to live in a safe, loving and permanent home. That is why the CASA program exists.
CASA volunteers come from all walks of life. More than half of our volunteers work full time. After they receive training, a staff of professionals in the legal and child welfare fields will support them. Each volunteer typically handles one case at a time – and commits to staying on that case until the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. While others may come and go, CASA volunteers provide the one constant that a child needs in order to thrive.
Become a CASA volunteer and be the link between where an abused and neglected child is and where he or she wants to be.
For more information, visit our web site at CASAHawaii.org or email us at CASAHawaii@aol.com