In Rockbridge, Augusta and Rockingham counties, more than 300 children enter foster care annually. An upcoming training aims to increase the number of volunteers advocating for those children. WMRA’s Christopher Clymer Kurtz reports.
The nonprofit Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA for Children, trains volunteers to advocate for children who have been removed from their homes due to neglect or abuse. In addition to helping children access services, those volunteers learn about the lives and situations of the children and write reports to inform judges.
Juan Pablo Molina is the executive director.
JUAN PABLO MOLINA: The outcome, in terms of the well-being of a child, is significantly different when they have a volunteer advocating for them.
Molina says that CASA for Children currently advocates for 100 children each year, with one volunteer on average serving two children. But with 300 children entering foster care each year, about 200 children more still need 100 new advocates.
MOLINA: It's very committed, this volunteering experience. It's long--one case is a year and a half. They're doing something that really changes the life of a child and the future of a child.
The 30- to 40-hours-long training for volunteers begins August 1st, and prospective volunteers, who must be 21 or older, should apply by July 14.