The NYS Office of Court Administration, which provides funding for the Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA), recently announced that it is eliminating its $800,000 funding for CASA in 2013 because of budget constraints. This program provides one to one advocacy to help children in foster care grow up in safe, permanent and loving homes. CASA programs utilize professionally trained staff and volunteers to monitor the mental health, physical health, education and permanency plans for children placed in foster care. Their advocacy is life changing for thousands of children across the state. It is a program that pays for itself many times over at an average cost of $1,000 per child served. CASA volunteers are currently supporting 79 at-risk children in the Southern Tier – and this only represents about 8% of current open cases. While local Family Court Judges are urgently requesting increased advocacy, the cuts to the 2013 program puts the representation of even the current 79 children in jeopardy.
After what we recently witnessed in Newtown, Connecticut, we need even more services to preserve children’s mental health---not the elimination of vital programs.
Please call the Office of Court of Appeals, Chief Judge Lippman at (212) 661-6787 and urge him not to allow the elimination of CASA funding statewide. The message is, “We urge you to stop the elimination of funding statewide to the CASA Program. It has been incredibly successful in helping children who have been abused and neglected to navigate the system of foster care, and grow up in safe, permanent and loving homes.”
Donations can also be made directly to CASA of the Southern Tier at www.casasoutherntier.org.
Thank you so much for your support of children in need in your local community.
For 10 years National CASA received $12 million in funding for the CASA program through the Victims of Child Abuse Act. We have used these vital funds to provide advocacy, training and technical assistance in support of almost 1,000 CASA programs around the country serving 240,000 neglected and abused children each year.
Last year Congress reduced the funding for CASA programs to $4.5 million. And now, the Administration has proposed eliminating all funding for this vital program in FY 2013.
A team of CASA representatives met with 40 congressional representatives last week and learned that there is a chance to restore full funding for this program provided enough congressional offices urge appropriators to do the right thing.But timing is critical.
You must do two things right now to restore CASA funding:
- Immediately use Email, Facebook and Twitter to pass this alert along to staff, volunteers, board members, and your networks of friends and colleagues.
- Immediately contact your two senators and your one member of the US House of Representatives and send them the letter below. (You can cut and paste it into your email)
You can reach your senators and representative from this site:http://www.congressmerge.com/onlinedb/
Enter your zip code (only) and the site will take you directly to the contact information for your two senators and one representative. Click on the “Contact Forms” and it will link you directly to each of the three congressional websites, from which you can submit your request.
It is imperative that we act quickly. If you have any questions, contact: staff@CASAforChildren.org.
Message to send to congressional offices:
Please urge the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce and Justice to restore appropriated funding of $12 million for the Court Appointed Special Advocate program for children (CASA). Tell the subcommittee of your support, and include the CASA program on your appropriations programmatic request list.
CASA saves lives—The program has achieved unprecedented success in breaking the cycle of abuse and neglect, and offering our most vulnerable children hope of a safe, loving, permanent home.
CASA saves billions in taxpayer dollars—Every dollar spent on CASA yields $23 in savings in the foster care and family court systems.
CASA is good policy—It is the model of an outstanding public/private partnership. A nonprofit organization, backed by the Department of Justice, and fueled by 75,000 volunteer child advocates.
The need is urgent—With current resources we only reach 240,000 of the nearly 660,000 children in foster care. The proposed budget cut would devastate our ability to reach even the small fraction we do today.
This is society’s obligation—Protecting the rights and safety of abused and neglected children is one of society’s most fundamental obligations.
Restoring this funding is neither controversial nor debatable. These children need our help and CASA is the proven solution. Thank you for your attention and support of this critical issue!