Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Columbia Gorge CASA launches its Spring Volunteer training on May 9 in Hood River and invites residents of Hood River County and surrounding areas to consider becoming a CASA volunteer.
Reflecting on his experiences as a CASA, Bob Delaney, a long-time civic leader in The Dalles, states “I have volunteered for many causes over the past 30 years, but being a CASA volunteer has been the most important and defining experience I have had as a human being.”
In Hood River, Wasco and Sherman Counties there are over 130 children living in foster care because they were abused or neglected by their parents. CASA volunteers are appointed by a local judge to advocate for the best interests of a child in foster care. They make sure that the child receives needed services; work to keep the case moving quickly towards closure; and commit to being a constant presence in the child’s life during this traumatic time.
Delaney said, “Being a CASA is about basic human rights for children in OUR community. Health, safety, security, well-being and love are human rights that ALL children deserve. My role as a CASA is to ensure the court that these rights are being met. “At times, a CASA may be the child’s only voice for these basic rights in court.”
When a CASA volunteer is assigned to a child, that child spends on average 7.5 fewer months in foster care than a child without a CASA. This reduction of time in foster care not only saves thousands of state and federal dollars, it enables children who have been traumatized both by the abuse and the lengthy legal process to find safe, loving, and permanent homes more quickly.
Bob offers the following advice to individuals looking for a meaningful volunteer experience, “If you truly want to make a difference in the lives of children, become a CASA Volunteer.” The five week volunteer training starts on May 9 with an orientation.