Yesterday a friend’s status update on Facebook disturbed me. It came from a friend that works with CASA’s of Orange County in California. On the 2010 50 States in 50 Days I interviewed people that aged out of foster care, and asked them, “who was the one person in your life that made a difference, cared about you?”……….many times they would say their CASA. I asked them “why?”, and they would say, “because they don’t HAVE to be here, but they are. They aren’t on a government payroll.”
I was completely ignorant of what a CASA was before the 50 States in 50 Days tour, but I came away from it with the belief that CASA’s are very important to a foster child’s protection, and guidance through the foster care/legal system. They are invaluable.
A CASA is a Court Appointed Special Advocate for foster children…….they appear with them in court and advocate for them. In the interviews that I conducted………I saw that many times they are so much more.
I clicked on the link my friend provided on her page and this is what I read:
For 10 years National CASA received $12 million in funding for the CASA program through the Victims of Child Abuse Act. We have used these vital funds to provide advocacy, training and technical assistance in support of almost 1,000 CASA programs around the country serving 240,000 neglected and abused children each year.
Last year Congress reduced the funding for CASA programs to $4.5 million. And now, the Administration has proposed eliminating all funding for this vital program in FY 2013.
A team of CASA representatives met with 40 congressional representatives last week and learned that there is a chance to restore full funding for this program provided enough congressional offices urge appropriators to do the right thing. But timing is critical.
You must do two things right now to restore CASA funding:
Immediately use Email, Facebook and Twitter to pass this alert along to your networks of friends and colleagues.
Immediately contact your two senators and your one member of the US House of Representatives and send them the letter below. (You can cut and paste it into your email)
You can reach your senators and representative from this site: http://www.congressmerge.com/onlinedb/
Enter your zip code (only) and the site will take you directly to the contact information for your two senators and one representative. Click on the “Contact Forms” and it will link you directly to each of the three congressional websites, from which you can submit your request.
It is imperative that we act quickly. If you have any questions, contact:staff@CASAforChildren.org.
Please go to the actual link for more information on how you can help.
A few months ago the CASA’s of Orange County made me their 2011 Luncheon Honoree for the work I did with the Orange Duffel Bag Foundation on the 2010 50 States in 50 Days tour. It was the biggest honor of my life. I was asked to do a speech, play a couple of songs, and present a video of the interviews of people that aged out of foster care. This is the video that I put together. As you can see for yourself………the kids need a CASA, or one person to care for them. Please respond to this call of action today, and let your elected leaders know that you want them to continue funding the CASA program. One Tomahawk Missile costs $569,000 to manufacture……..this is a 12 million dollar program……..I think 600,000 children in need are worth our tax dollars……….for the cost of 24 Tomahawk Missiles we could continue to fund this vital program. Do something.
Here is the video……..please watch and share this post to your Facebook wall.
Are you a CASA? Do you know someone who is a CASA? What are your thoughts? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.