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Become a child advocate

Give the gift of time and friendship as a CASA

Eight-year-old Robin loves to draw. Kittens, rainbows, flowers — the brighter the colors, the better the picture. However, she mostly draws pictures of her family, because all Robin wants is to go back home.

Robin’s parents are struggling with addiction, so she can’t go home now … but Robin has a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) advocating for her best interests while her parents get the help they need so she can safely return. A CASA volunteer takes the time to get to know the child and learn what’s possible and what the child needs to heal and thrive.

A CASA is a trained volunteer appointed by a judicial officer to provide advocacy for a child who is under the jurisdiction of the courts due to abuse or neglect. The CASA serves as the “eyes and ears” of the judge for children in foster care. Volunteers spend time with children, monitor needed services, and provide child-focused recommendations to the court based on the best interests of the children they serve.

The community is invited to give the gift of time and friendship to a child in foster care. Juvenile court officials have identified 65 youths who need advocates, and CASA is appealing to Sonoma County residents to volunteer. If this cause inspires you, and you have about 10 hours a month to spend, being a CASA can be very gratifying work. Executive Director Heloisa Heinen states that there are approximately 187 volunteers currently, and she hopes to recruit another 35 with the next training.

The Summer Volunteer Training is scheduled to take place inperson at the CASA office from Monday, July 18, through Friday, July 22, from 9 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. For more information and to sign up for the CASA training, contact Heinen at (707) 565-6375 or email [email protected] To learn more about CASA of Sonoma County, visit www.sonomacasa.org or call (707) 565-6375.

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