COLTS NECK, NJ – Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Children of Monmouth brought joy to nearly 200 children in foster care this past holiday season. Through the CASA of Monmouth annual holiday wish list, foster children served by CASA advocates received gifts to celebrate the holidays.
Every year, CASA of Monmouth looks to fulfill the wish lists from the children in the child welfare system served by the program. This effort is done through the generosity of CASA volunteers, community members, CASA staff, CASA Executive Board, and local business sponsors.
“During the holiday season, we ask our volunteers to gather a wish list of about 3-4 items for the child they are working with,” said Lynn Goelz, Director of Program Services. “I post all the wishes onto a signup, which is shared through our social media. This year, almost all the gifts were accounted for by generous donors within 24 hours! Seeing how quickly people are to give is simply magical. I wish the donors could see the joy and smiles, sometimes even tears, that these gifts bring to the children during the holidays. “
Court Appointed Special Advocates, CASAs, are highly trained volunteers from our community who work with children in the child welfare system who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. CASAs are assigned to the foster children by a family court judge to “be their voice” in court to ensure the children’s needs are being met and to work towards a permanent, safe home. CASAs meet with the kids monthly or more to check on their well-being and provide reports to the court. CASA has remained fully operational to ensure these children do not fall through the cracks of the child welfare system. CASA has been diligent in their efforts to keep children connected and safe throughout the pandemic.
These advocates are a constant source of support for the children they work with. With the pandemic disrupting the lives of so many, CASA provides a dedicated adult presence to those who are most vulnerable. Children rescued from hardship often face more as they bounce through an overburdened system, rarely receiving undivided attention. The emotional toll of being separated from your home and family has a severe impact on these children, especially during a pandemic. The influence of the volunteers cannot be understated – CASA volunteers can improve children’s well-being and help them reach a permanent home. The ultimate goal is always reunification with family if it is safe - or other caring relatives or foster parents ready to adopt.
The need for these heroic volunteers remains great. CASA for Children of Monmouth is holding information sessions on January 21st and February 1st, 2021, for new dedicated community members to advocate for children in foster care and become a voice for a child. For more information on volunteering or sponsoring a wish list in the future, call the offices at 732-460-9100 or visit www.casaofmonmouth.org.