CASA Celebrates 10 Years Of Child Advocacy
Tuesday, August 11, 2020
On Aug. 18, 2010, CASA of Bradley and Polk Counties was established as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization focused on working with trained, community volunteers to advocate for abused and neglected children. Since being established a decade ago the agency has provided a voice for over 1,400 children in court.
“It is exciting to see the work that our volunteer advocates have done over the past 10 years,” stated Executive Director Christopher Janetzko. “It is truly inspiring to see members from our community make the conscious effort to improve the lives of the next generation of Bradley and Polk Counties.
When we support our children at a young age, we help to give them a real chance at having successful futures.”
Officials said, "Research has shown that a child with a volunteer CASA is more likely to find a safe, permanent home, is more likely to be adopted, half as likely to re-enter foster care, less likely to spend time in long-term foster care, and more likely to have a plan for permanency. Children with CASAs also do better in school. They are more likely to pass all courses, less likely to have poor conduct in school, and less likely to be expelled."
“Naturally, we wanted to have an in-person event to celebrate the change our volunteers have made in the lives of children in our community, but due to the pandemic, we have had to be creative,” said Mr. Janetzko. “Instead we have recorded five beautiful videos highlighting the stories of our volunteers. These videos will be shared daily on our Facebook page (@casaforthechild) from Aug. 15 - 21.”
Husband and wife team Lois and Gerald Crawford are among the advocates whose stories will be highlighted on CASA’s Facebook page. The Crawford’s have been advocating with CASA since 2017 and in that time they have advocated for over 25 children. "The consistency in their years of service is one of the things that has helped to make them great advocates," officials said. "Each time the children they advocate for re-enter the court, they see the friendly faces of Lois and Gerald. Their ability to provide a steady presence for these children amidst ongoing chaos is what is so important about what CASA does. The Crawford’s experience of watching these children grow and hearing their stories for years allow them to provide a special kind of voice for the children in the courtroom that would otherwise go unheard."
Those interested in supporting another 10 years of CASA should visit casabp.org. CASA is funded under grant contracts with the State of Tennessee, The National CASA/GAL Association and United Way of the Ocoee Region.