AAA: An Advocate for All
To engage & empower community volunteers to provide a voice for every abused/neglected child in WV.
CASA advocated for 47% of child protection cases last year. Unfortunately, West Virginia continues to see a sharp increase in the number of children/youth involuntarily entering the state’s foster care system. There are no other programs, initiatives, or organizations in West Virginia that duplicate the services that CASA volunteers provide for victims of child abuse/neglect. Further, CASA volunteers are among the only personal constants in the lives of many of these children/youth. Circuit court judges rely on the recommendations from CASA volunteers as objective, factual, and independently researched.
In 2021, there were over 7,000 children/youth involved in foster care in WV. While CASA volunteers were available to advocate for over 2,400 child abuse/neglect cases, there were 2,766 abused/neglected children/youth whose best interests were not represented by CASA in the courtroom. The needs of children/youth who experienced abuse/neglect in half of WV’s counties are currently unmet.
With a $25,000 grant from State Farm Neighborhood Assist, CASA services would be made available to 13% more children/youth who experienced abuse/neglect in West Virginia.
CASA programs in West Virginia are nonprofit organizations reliant on community contributions, donations, and grants. CASA services in WV are currently ordered by judges presiding over child abuse/neglect cases in 30 of WV’s 55 counties. Start-up costs of offering CASA services to a new judicial circuit or county are approximately $101,000. Being awarded this grant would help to cover nearly ¼ of initial year operating expenses. Additionally, a $25,000 grant award from State Farm Neighborhood Assist would help meet match requirements for other grant and foundation requests. In 2022 WV CASA seeks to offer CASA services to two additional judicial circuits, serving an additional 322 additional children/youth who experienced abuse/neglect. Any funding support to serve these vulnerable children/youth is greatly appreciated
Ensuring every young victim of child abuse and/or neglect in WV has a CASA advocate on their side in the courtroom can make positive lifelong impacts for children, families, and communities. National research shows that when a CASA volunteer advocates for a child/youth who has experienced abuse /neglect that these children/youth are:
more likely to find a safe, permanent home;
more likely to succeed in school;
half as likely to re-enter the foster care system.
We all know the phrase, “it takes a village.” CASA engages that village in order to represent the best interests of children/youth who have experienced abuse/neglect. By empowering community members to serve as supports and advocates for children and families, the impacts are positively rippled for generations. In short, more CASA advocates throughout WV equates to safer long-term outcomes for young people. These lasting community connections support growth and sustainability of healthy communities.