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Letter: Make a New Year’s resolution to help children in foster care

The beginning of a new year is a chance to pause, reflect and make decisions with the hope of making lasting change in one’s life. 

New Year’s resolutions typically focus on self-improvement: lose weight, stop smoking, exercise more often. This year why not do something even more lasting?  

The Hall-Dawson CASA program urges you to make a difference with your New Year’s resolution by becoming a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate, a CASA for a local child who is under court protection because of abuse and neglect.

CASAs receive in-depth training to advocate in court and in the community for the needs and rights of children in foster care. CASA volunteers come from all walks of life, and they have one thing in common: they care about kids.

CASA volunteers get to know the child they represent by talking with the child and everyone in that child’s life: parents and relatives, foster parents, teachers, medical professionals, attorneys, social workers and others. 

They use the information they gather to assist judges and other professionals in making crucial decisions to meet the child’s needs, with the goal of obtaining a safe, permanent home for the child, as quickly as possible.

Following the application, interview and screening process, prospective volunteers complete 40 hours of initial training. Once appointed to a child or a sibling group, CASAs spend an average of 10 hours monthly getting to know the child, gathering information, exploring resources to meet the child’s needs, and advocating for the child in court with a written report addressing what is in the child’s best interest.

As the number of children in foster care rises, our need for advocates is greater than ever. More than 100 children in our local community need a CASA volunteer to be their voice. 

Resolve to make a difference in 2019 through advocacy by volunteering to become a CASA! Training classes for new volunteers will begin in February. 

For more information about how you can help be the voice for a child in need, visit or call me at 770-531-1964.

Blessings to you in this New Year.

Janet Walden

Hall-Dawson CASA executive director