The National Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) awarded a $35,000 Program Expansion Grant to Richland County CASA to recruit, screen and train more local volunteers to serve children who experience abuse or neglect.
Richland County CASA is one of almost 1,000 CASA and Guardian ad Litem (GAL) programs across the country that recruit, train and support volunteers who help ensure that children who have entered the court and child welfare systems receive appropriate services, have a voice in determining their futures and, ultimately, find a safe, permanent home where they can thrive.
A child enters the foster care system every two minutes, and currently there are not enough CASA and GAL volunteers to serve every child. On average, for every child assigned a best-interest volunteer, two others go it alone.
“The needs of Richland County’s children coming into care are more complicated than ever before, and life in foster care can be chaotic,” said Paige Greene, Executive Director of Richland County CASA. “Every child deserves the support of a caring, consistent adult with the training to help her or him heal and thrive.”
The federal grant funds distributed through the National CASA Association are provided by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice, as authorized under the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990. They are awarded through a competitive process. In 2018, National CASA was awarded over $10 million in federal grants.
Richland County CASA provides volunteer training every Wednesday. For more information about becoming a best-interests volunteer or other ways to get involved in changing a child’s life, contact Dante Roberts, Training Manager, at 803-576-1655.