Local News

New CASA Volunteers Sworn In

BEND, OR -- More Court Appointed Special Advocates - or CASA - volunteers were recently sworn in. They provide a voice for local foster children navigating the court system. More than 280 kids are in foster care in our region. CASA of Central Oregon Executive Director Heather Dion tells KBND News she's excited about the 19 new volunteers, "They have already been assigned to individual cases of children or sibling groups, and they are already advocating for these children. This is our community’s most vulnerable children." Dion explains, “When a child comes into foster care, the day-to-day decisions about their life are made by a caseworker; and then the major decisions about whether or not to bring a child into foster care or return the child back to their parents, or put them towards adoption or guardianship, those are all made by a judge and the judge has never met the child.”

Volunteers also advocate for kids outside the courtroom, “If a child needs some extra support at school, the CASA can meet with the teacher and they can attend conferences, and they can make sure the child is connected to educational support they may need. If a child comes in and they have additional medical needs or a dental need, or maybe they need some occupational therapy or speech therapy, the CASA can be the connecting point to make sure they receive those services, working in partnership with the case worker,” says Dion. The CASA can also help meet social needs by connecting kids with recreational opportunities, and working to make sure it continues even if the child moves foster homes.

Dion notes 40 Central Oregon foster kids remain without a CASA, so more volunteers are needed. There's no experience necessary. Learn more at  CASA of central oregon's website. 

 

 

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