Letter: Court-appointed volunteers provide valuable aid for youths

During National Volunteer Week, designated to celebrate people doing extraordinary things through service, Alaska CASA is honoring the nearly 200 volunteers statewide serving as court appointed special advocates (CASA) for foster youths. Alaska’s CASA volunteers are among more than 77,000 volunteers who make up a national network representing 250,000 children.

After a rigorous screening and training process, CASA volunteers team with paid advocates, handling only one or two cases at a time, so they can give each child’s case the sustained, personal attention s/he deserves. Research shows that youths with a CASA volunteer spend less time in and out of home care, are less likely to re-enter the system, and receive more services.

April is also Child Abuse Prevention Month; what better time to recognize our volunteers! The involvement of everyday citizens in addressing the problem of child abuse and neglect in Alaska as CASA volunteers has far-reaching benefits to our communities and our state. To each of our volunteers: We offer you our deepest thanks for making a powerful difference in a child’s life.

— Marion Hallum