April has been proclaimed National Child Abuse Prevention Month, acknowledging that every child deserves a nurturing family and a safe environment, free from fear, abuse and neglect. The week of April 18 to 24 was National Volunteer Week, a time to recognize the contributions of citizen volunteers.
I would like to publicly acknowledge the work of the many Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteers throughout Clatsop County who give thousands of hours each year to advocate for over a hundred children who are victims of child abuse and neglect in our local communities.
In advocating for these children, CASAs are uniquely situated to provide the "voice of the child" to the court, state child welfare agency and other participants in the child welfare system. They take on the often difficult task of investigating a complex family situation to help caseworkers and the court correctly identify problems - and solutions. We don't have enough volunteers to serve all the children in need, but the CASAs that we do have perform amazing work.
Although a CASA enters the picture after abuse or neglect has occurred, the CASA's recommendations are part of an intervention to disrupt the multi-generational cycle of child abuse and neglect, and to provide a solid foundation for the cognitive, emotional and social capacities that affect a child's developing brain.
I am grateful for our incredible CASA volunteers for contributing to a better future for each child that they serve, as well as for the community that benefits from the long-term results. Sincerely,
executive director, Clatsop CASA