No volunteer opportunity is more important than being the person who looks out for the best interests of a child who has been abused, abandoned or neglected. As a volunteer in the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program, you are appointed by a judge to advocate on behalf of an infant living in foster care in Maricopa County.
You become the voice and protector of this child, making sure that his or her case doesn't get lost in the legal system or in social services, and that the child doesn't languish in inappropriate shelters or foster homes.
According to the ad on volunteermatch.org, CASA volunteers stay with each case until it is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home.
Volunteers must be at least 21, complete CASA training, and pass all interviews and background checks. They should have the ability to analyze documents and records, interview children, family members and professionals, and provide written reports and testimony at court hearings. Good communication skills are also necessary, as well as a willingness to seek cooperative solutions.
This is one of the more challenging volunteer opportunities available in the Valley, but one that has a lasting impact. According to CASA, for many abused kids, their CASA volunteer is the one constant adult presence in their lives.
For more details, visit www.MaricopaCASA.org or call Justine Grabowsky at (602) 506-4083.
• A Helping Hand is our weekly spotlight on a volunteer opportunity in the East Valley. Find other ways to help at www.volunteermatch.org.