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Become a child advocate

CASA training for new advocates starts April 14

Eight-year-old Robin loves to draw. Kittens, rainbows, flowers — the brighter the colors, the better the picture. But mostly she draws pictures of her family, because all Robin wants is to go back home. Robin’s parents are struggling with addiction, but Robin has a volunteer Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) advocating for her best interests while her parents get the help they need so she can safely return home.

A CASA volunteer takes the time to get to know the child — to learn what’s possible and what the child needs to heal and thrive. The CASA is appointed by a judicial officer to provide advocacy for a child who is under the jurisdiction of the courts due to abuse or neglect, serving as the “eyes and ears” of the judge for children in foster care. Volunteers spend time with children, monitor needed services, and provide childfocused recommendations to the court based on the best interests of the children they serve.

Juvenile court officials have identified an additional 85 youth who need advocates, and CASA is appealing to Sonoma County residents to volunteer. Executive Director Heloisa Heinen says there are approximately 187 volunteers and hopes to recruit another 35 with the next training.

A CASA is a powerful voice in a child’s life. If you care and have about 10 hours a month to spend with foster children, being a CASA can be very gratifying work. The Spring Volunteer Training is scheduled to take place online on Thursday, April 14, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and Tuesday, April 19, through Friday, April 22, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information and to sign up for the CASA training, contact Heinen at (707) 565-6375 or [email protected]