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It should be easy to be a child. But most of us can attest that tragedies come at any age, and only a small few grow up in the perfect household.

Court Appointed Special AdvocatesChildren most at risk are those living with an adult who is deemed temporarily or permanently unfit to parent them anymore, due to alcohol or drug addiction, mental illness, abuse, neglect or abandonment.

When Child Protective Services removes a child from his or her home, the experience can be traumatic. Even when coming from a broken home rife with drugs and abuse, children see their parents as permanent fixtures in their lives, so to any child, removal from a home is disruptive.

One of my former roommates was a CPS caseworker. While he could never speak about his cases due to privacy, I saw the toll it took on him and could only imagine what he experienced in trying to help the youngest in our community.

Even placement in a loving foster home can be traumatic, as the young child may not understand why his or her parental figures are gone — replaced by caseworkers, foster parents, lawyers and judges.

Managing Editor Christopher Fox GrahamCourt Appointed Special Advocates, a volunteer organization, aims to help children through that transition. The organization relies on community volunteers to speak with the child and understand his or her needs, and speak for the child’s best interests in family court proceedings.

Ideally, all children would be returned to their parents and find themselves in a rebuilt, loving home. Many cases do end this way — and the removal from their home fades over the decades into just a bad memory of childhood, like falling from a tree and breaking an arm, or the death of a beloved uncle.

Some cases, however, result in permanent removal from a home and eventual adoption by a loving couple.

Other cases may drag on for years as parents battle with courts over custody.

In all these cases, the child is the innocent victim.

Rather than a revolving door of caseworkers, attorneys and relatives, what children need is stability. CASAs are often their only constant connections. CASAs are friendly faces, but also adults who want to listen to their needs and then help children and their families get the assistance they need to find permanent, loving homes.

The CASA program is desperately short of volunteers. Right now, there are 80 volunteers serving 365 children in foster care.

Sedona is filled with volunteers donating time to help their favorite charities. Consider volunteering to help a child find their way through the court system to a loving home.

Contact Yavapai County CASA Program Manager Tracy Sauer at (928) 771-3165.

Christopher Fox Graham

Managing Editor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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