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Letter: Act now for a child

If you could do one thing to positively impact the life trajectory of an abused or neglected child, what would it be?

Reports of dysfunction and shortcomings in an overburdened child protection system continue to be exposed. Reforms need to be advanced thoughtfully and honestly in consideration of making substantial, enduring change so that good workers can do their jobs well and children and families can thrive. These things will take a painfully long time to execute.

But you don’t have to wait to help a child.

Friends of Children’s CASA Program partners trained adults with vulnerable children who are under the court’s protection because their parents can’t or won’t take care of them. We train community members to speak for a child’s best interests.

CASA children (who range in age from birth to 18) are at an uncertain time in their lives. A CASA volunteer’s advocacy offers a steady presence in an otherwise turbulent life.

When an abused child becomes involved in public foster care, a sort of “village” is mobilized in the community to help. Teachers, counselors, social workers, attorneys, judges and others become involved. CASA volunteers objectively gather knowledge of the different aspects of a child’s life and help all in this community to best help the child.

CASA volunteers are trained to put the needs of a child first. They learn about child abuse and neglect, about the child welfare and legal systems, and about families under stress. And they know they can count on professional staff to support their work every step of the way.

Vulnerable children need powerful, effective voices when critical decisions are made that impact their lives. Our CASA volunteers stand beside these children and makes sure their needs are articulated, respected, and met. For 25 years, we have worked to secure the lives of thousands of children who depend upon adults and bureaucracies to protect them.

Today, children are waiting for a CASA volunteer to champion their needs. Training classes are forming. If you think you’re person who wants the challenge of this unique volunteer opportunity, you don’t have to wait.

Contact Friends of Children now at 413-586-0011. There is a child waiting to meet you.

JANE LYONS

executive director

Friends of Children

Hadley

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