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CASA volunteers are ‘voices’ for foster-care kids

Camden County Superior Court Judge Linda W. Eynon recently swore in seven New Jersey residents as Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers.

The ceremony was the culmination of 35 hours of instruction in child advocacy, the family court system and cultural competency. CASA volunteers meet with and advocate on behalf of children and youth living in the foster care system and recommend resources and services regarding their education, medical and overall well-being.

The ultimate goal is to ensure the children find safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible, according to CASA. The new volunteers are Nathaly Almonte of Cherry Hill, Kaitlyn Hanson of Audubon, Mary Burton-Newbill of Camden, Katie Rochester of Gloucester City, Silvia Moffa of Laurel Springs, Danielle Leggett of Sicklerville and Allison Kruk of Palmyra.

“We are so thankful that these individuals stepped forward to take the role of advocate for children living in foster care,” said CASA’s Director of Program Services Jennifer Valentine. “Their advocacy will have a profound effect on the lives of children and youth in our community. These new CASA volunteers are starting a journey that will help change the stories of the children they meet and in the process their lives will be changed as well.”

CASA volunteers meet with everyone on the child’s case, including teachers, caseworkers, counselors and health-care providers and gather information into objective court reports. Each report – submitted to the family courts at every hearing – contains recommendations for services and resources for a child.

Trained CASA advocates speak on behalf of abused and neglected children in the foster- care system and are dedicated to ensuring they are placed in safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible. Last fiscal year, CASA advocated for 464 abused and neglected children in Atlantic, Cape May, and Camden counties.

Individuals interested in becoming CASA volunteers should attend one of the organization’s information sessions at its Somers Point office and in the community, also available virtually. For more information, call (609) 601-7800 or visit CASAacc.org.

For CASA sessions of Burlington and Mercer counties visit casamb.org and for CASA of Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties visit wespeakupforchildren.org.

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