Playing CASA "Forgotten Children's Campaign"

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[From:  "The Forgotten Children stand up to make a point"  By Sally McComb ]

April 16, 2009

The Forgotten Children campaign is a dramatic display of 4,250 life size cutouts of children placed in the shadow of The Washington Monument, representing each child who entered the U.S. foster care system during a single week in 2008. The campaign was designed to help raise awareness on a local level for the need for support and volunteers with National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association programs across the nation.
 
In the Denver area, life size cut-outs representing foster children will be placed throughout Jefferson County, including outside of the Jefferson County Court House. These life size stand-up displays bear actual messages from foster children, all gathered from a recent national study commissioned by CASA.
 
In the words of one youth: "If you want the foster care system to get better, if you have compassion in your heart, don't stop doing whatever you can to make it better - even if it's just by providing an ear. Be someone we can talk to. You are the one that can create the change."
 
It’s an important message. On average, foster children spend more than two years in the child welfare system, and can be moved as often as 15 times, negatively impacting their education, friendships and sense of belonging.

CASA volunteers help to alleviate the constant upheaval faced by foster children. Research shows that:

  • Children with a CASA volunteer are substantially less likely to spend time in long-term foster care, defined as three years or longer.
  • A  child is less likely to move from home to home when a CASA volunteer is involved,
  • A child with a CASA volunteer is 95 percent less likely to re-enter the foster care system.
CASA of Jefferson and Gilpin Counties is a member of the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association, a network of nearly 950 local community programs that recruit and train citizen volunteers to advocate for the rights of abused and neglected children. Each year, in Jefferson and Gilpin Counties there are over 1,000 children who have been physically, sexually or emotionally abused or neglected, and who are in desperate need of a caring, committed CASA volunteer to speak up for their best interests.
 
In Jefferson and Gilpin Counties, there are over 175 CASA volunteers, and a huge need for more community members to become advocates for children. For more information on how you can become a CASA supporter or volunteer in one of these counties, please contact Melissa Hellmuth at (303) 271-6535 or visit www.casajeffcogilpin.com.
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