Give the gift of time by volunteering to advocate for a child in Arizona’s foster care system.
CASA of Arizona (CASA) and the Foster Care Review Board (FCRB) encourage residents to help a child who is going through a difficult time thrive. There are about 10,000 Arizona children in foster care, according to CASA.
Both CASA and FCRB programs were created to provide residents of all backgrounds and experiences a meaningful way to get involved and make a positive impact on the lives of children and youth in foster care.
Court Appointed Special Advocates are volunteers who advocate for the needs of children, teens, or sibling groups, ensuring their voice is heard. They make recommendations to the court on what is best for the child and advocate for everyday needs. A CASA volunteer is at a child’s side throughout the entire foster care journey.
CASA volunteers spend quality time with the youth and learn about every aspect of their case. This allows the CASA to effectively be an unbiased advocate for them in court, school, medical settings, and more to ensure all their personalized needs are being met.
Residents can also be co-CASAs and go through training with a friend, spouse, parent, or co-worker, and advocate for a child in foster care as a team.
“We have been (co-CASAs) for over 17 years,” Bud and Jan Dragoo shared in a press release. “As a husband-and-wife team, we each bring different perspectives and skills when advocating for the children. It brings us closer together too.”
The Foster Care Review Board is a peer collaborative environment, allowing for a volunteer to be on a panel with other community members. Volunteers meet via Zoom one weekday per month.
The board reviews the cases of children in foster care, speaks with the interested parties, considers appropriate services and permanency goals, and makes recommendations to the court on what is in the best interest of the child.
In preparation for a board meeting, volunteers receive court documents and other case materials via a secured website about 10 days before the review date. Board members prepare questions to clarify and gather information with the attending interested parties (case managers, attorneys, parents, foster parents, counselors, licensing workers, Court Appointed Special Advocates, etc.). All this information gives them the insight to advocate for what is in the best interest of the child.
Volunteers receive the training needed to serve in these roles.
Anyone at least 21 years of age who can pass a fingerprint background check is encouraged to learn more and apply at AZCASAVolunteer.org or azfcrb.org.
For those looking for a different volunteer experience, the Arizona Supreme Court is also seeking to recruit community members for its more than 30 standing committees and commissions.
Visit https://www.azcourts.gov/committeescommissions to learn more about the Court’s Committees and Commissions.