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CASA volunteers making positive impact on foster youth

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Court Appointed Special Advocates volunteers are more than volunteers. They are trained, court appointed special advocates and they play a significant role in the life of foster youth by ensuring their voice is heard in court. By developing strong relationships with the youth, the CASAs in effect become the eyes and ears of the judge. CASAs take a stand and help make a lifelong difference in a child’s life by advocating in court for the child’s best interests. The ultimate goal is to find a safe, permanent living situation for the child. Children that have a CASA are more likely to get the services they need, do better in school, gain self confidence and are highly unlikely to return to the system. One such CASA volunteer, Carolyn Carlson of Rocklin, is making a positive impact on foster youth. Carlson’s current case of nearly three years involves meeting with her 17-year-old CASA youth and listening to her needs. Her CASA youth is getting ready to move from an emergency shelter to transitional housing. “As a CASA volunteer, it is important to help these children believe in themselves and that there is someone advocating for them so their voice can be heard,” Carlson said. In California, there are roughly 80,000 kids in foster care, most of them school age. In Placer County there are about 85,000 children from weeks old to 18. About 400 of these kids go through Placer County Juvenile Dependency Court each year because they were abused or neglected. The ultimate goal of a CASA is to find a safe, permanent home for the child, whether it’s a return to their family, adoption or guardianship. For more information of the CASA program in Placer County, go to casaplacer.org or call (530) 887-1006. ~ Staff report