CASA Asks Residents for Help

2015 Boot Drive2015 Boot Drive

Removing a child from an abusive home is just one step to improving their lives, and the organization dedicated to advocating on these children’s behalf is in need itself to keep helping.  The Court Assisted Special Advocate (CASA) program is a largely volunteer organization that steps in when a child is abused.  The volunteers work to make sure that targeted wrap around services are in place when a child is moved to alternate care providers like foster care or relatives.  These services insure that the child thrives during this stressful time.

However, according to the state director of the Kentucky CASA Network, Andrea Burns, there has been a substantial rise in child abuse cases, and CASA, which is only present in a third of Kentucky counties, could only help with less than 20 percent of the cases.  This is an unfortunate statistic as children with CASA volunteers not only perform better in school, but they also are less likely to be moved around to other care providers and more than 90 percent don’t reenter the child welfare system once they find a permanent placement.

On top of this, according to Andrea, the costs for the state are significantly reduced.  Foster care costs on average around $2,100 a month.  A child with a CASA advocate will experience 7.5 months less of foster care, saving a total of nearly $16,000 a child.  A single CASA advocate costs around $650 a year to the organization.

Unlike similar systems in 43 other states, Kentucky CASA is largely funded only by donations, fundraisers, and competitive grants.  The state government does not provide any direct funding.  This leaves CASA in a rather precarious situation of providing much needed services to these abused children while not being able to reach all of them due to lack of funds.

Andrea is asking for local residents across the county to contact their state representatives to encourage the state to partner with CASA and provide direct funding in the upcoming budget.  Not only will the funding in the end help save the state costs in foster care, more children will be helped as they are removed from abusive homes.

As the state decides its next budget and whether to support CASA directly, CASA will also be hosting a fundraising event across the county.  On Saturday, April 9th, there will be a “Boot Drive” at six different locations around the county, including Walmart, Kroger, ACE Hardware, and Tractor Supply, to help raise funds.

For more information, please contact Andrea Bruns at ky-casanetwork@gmail.com.

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