Our impact

Children in foster care

Each year, more than 7,500 children and teens from communities throughout New Jersey live in foster care. They are placed in foster care when the New Jersey Department of Child Protection and Permanency determines it is not safe for them to remain in their home. They are placed with a foster family, relative, in a group home, or institution. Children and teens enter foster care through no fault of their own.

WHAT IS CHILD ABUSE?

“Abuse is the physical, sexual or emotional harm or risk of harm to a child under the age of 18 caused by a parent or other person who acts as a caregiver for the child.”

-New Jersey Department of Children & Families

WHAT IS CHILD NEGLECT?

“Neglect occurs when a parent or caregiver fails to provide proper supervision for a child or adequate food, clothing, shelter, education or medical care although financially able or assisted to do so “

-New Jersey Department of Children & Families

WHY CASA?

Children and youth who have experienced abuse or neglect are among the most vulnerable populations in society. A child in foster care may have faced physical, psychological, or emotional trauma and years of uncertainty as they wait to go home, be adopted, or to simply see what happens next.  These children and youth need a caring consistent adult in their lives to ensure they are safe and well-cared for until they find a safe, permanent place to call home.

CASA volunteers, screened, trained and supported by program staff ,are appointed by judges to advocate for a foster child’s best interests. Best-interest considerations in each case include health, safety, day-to-day care, and emotional ties. Volunteers work with legal and child welfare professionals, educators and service providers to ensure that judges have all the information they need to make well-informed decisions for each child.

 ADVOCACY changes lives

Promote healing

CASA volunteers are trained to understand the impact of trauma on children. Based on what they learn, our volunteers advocate for services that promote healing, and that help children develop resilience without causing additional trauma.

They encourage services that strengthen parents’ relationships with their children.

STABLE PLACEMENTS

For children, a nurturing and consistent relationship to caregivers is key to healthy development. CASA volunteers work to ensure young children are in placements with loving, consistent caregivers.

For youth placed in group homes, our volunteers help ensure that they are not placed in group care unnecessarily or in a situation that is not good for them.

HElp Children Thrive

CASA volunteers recommend and ensure that children and youth receive the medical and educational services necessary to support their well-being.

Advocates also help youth prepare for independence. Many teens aging out of foster care must depend fully on themselves, but lack the preparation others their age have had for independent living.

REACH PERMANENT HOMES

Children do best when they can safely remain with their parents or with other family members.

CASA volunteers work with experts and service providers to identify and recommend services aimed at keeping families intact or returning children safely to family members.

When this is not possible, advocates work to help a child reach another safe and stable forever home.

 

“CASA volunteers play a unique role on behalf of some of our most vulnerable children. Their commitment, vigilance and persistence offer hope where there has been little.”

Marian Wright Edelman

Founder of the Children’s Defense Fund