In honor of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, CASA of Pinal County is asking the community to spread awareness and stand up against child abuse.
CASA of Pinal County is doing everything we can to encourage our community to support children who have been abused or neglected. We ask you to be alert and report suspected abuse, but we also need to prepare for a significant increase in case numbers in the wake of this COVID-19 crisis.
We are making a plea to our communities to prepare to be the voice for the most vulnerable among us.
If you suspect a child is in immediate danger, please contact the police or call 9-1-1. You can also contact the ChildHelp National Child Abuse Hotline via text, phone or online chat (https://www.childhelp.org/childhelp-hotline/), to report abuse.
Children come into the child welfare system through no fault of their own. “The needs of Pinal County’s children coming into care are more complicated than ever before, and life in foster care can be chaotic,” said Denise Smith, director of Pinal County Juvenile Court. “Every child deserves the support of a caring, consistent adult with the training to help them heal and thrive.”
CASA of Pinal County is calling on members of the community to help our program serve more of Pinal County’s most vulnerable children. We are asking community members to volunteer as Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs).
Without intervention, the odds are stacked against children in foster care. A child with a CASA volunteer, however, will leave the foster care system earlier, on average, compared to a child without a CASA volunteer.
Studies show children with a CASA volunteer receive more of the services that are critical to their well-being than children without an advocate, and those children are more likely to achieve educational success.
“CASA volunteers are a constant for the child in a time of chaos,” said Smith, “A child may have multiple social workers, attorneys, therapists and foster placements throughout the life of the case, but only one CASA volunteer, which can make all the difference for the child’s future.”
In Pinal County, there are nearly 80 volunteer advocates fighting for the best interests of approximately 900 children. This means many children are still in need of a CASA volunteer.
We are currently offering a new flexible pre-service training in an online interactive virtual environment. There will be multiple options for class times, so you are able to choose the time that would work best for your schedule.
Volunteers come in all shapes and sizes. No specific background or training is needed to become a CASA volunteer. Anyone 21 years of age or older, who can pass a thorough background check and complete 30 hours of free training, is encouraged to apply.
To learn more about becoming a CASA Volunteer, call 520-866-7076 or visit our website at www.CASAofPinalCounty.org.