April 25, 2017
 
CASA Project Gets $99K Grant to Place Children in Safe Housing

February 10, 2017 —CASA Project, a Worcester nonprofit that advocates for abused and neglected children in Worcester County courts, earlier this week announced it has been awarded a $99,000 grant to help its clients find a safe, permanent home.

The competitive grant was distributed through the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association, which is funded by the United States Department of Justice.

CASA Project is one of 943 CASA and Guardian ad Litem (GAL) programs with 76,756 volunteers across the country. The program recruits, trains and supports volunteers who ensure that children who have been removed from their parents’ care receive appropriate services and have a voice in determining their futures.

Last year in Worcester County, CASA Project we worked with more than 205 volunteers, to serve 579 children. CASA Advocates filed 367 court reports and attended 750+ court hearings. The organization said it expects these numbers "to increase dramatically in 2017."

"As a result of growing demand, our singular goal at CASA is to continue to grow our services, so we are able to provide every abused child with a CASA Advocate," the organization noted.

According to CASA, every two minutes, a child enters the foster care system, which noted that there are not enough CASA volunteers to serve every child; on average, for every child assigned a CASA volunteer, two others go without similar support.

"We are working in partnership with our programs toward the day that every child in need has a CASA volunteer standing by her side,” CASA said.

Since its founding in 1981, CASA has served thousands of children. Volunteers, who are matched with children based on their interests, background, and location, give about 15-20 hours of their time each month to advocate for children. CASA advocates serve in all five sessions of the Worcester Juvenile Court: Leominster, Fitchburg, Worcester, Milford, and Dudley.

On an average day in Worcester County, 1,600 abused, neglected, or exploited children live in foster care because they cannot live safely at home. Most are younger than age 12, with nearly half under age 6. CASA aims to serve every child in Worcester County involved in a Care & Protection petition by the year 2020.

CASA has a collaborative relationship with Rise Above, a Northbridge nonprofit that helps foster children take advantage of a variety enriching activities, opportunities, and experiences.

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