Shortly after I began my work with the National CASA Association almost 20 years ago, a volunteer told me about walking hand-in-hand with a young foster child on the beach one day. Like most kids who go into foster care, the boy's life at home had been full of dark insecurities and empty of the small joys that most children experience.
Standing by the ocean, the boy looked up at his volunteer and said, "I waited all my life for this day."
Across our nation, nearly 250,000 foster kids have a caring CASA volunteer who advocates for them, protects their rights and ensures that they find their way to a loving home. They also have something just as valuable: someone who offers them the gifts of time and joy, someone who believes in them.
When children are abused or neglected, they suffer a terrible betrayal. When they are taken from their parents to be cared for by the state, they too often suffer once again from the frailties of a foster care system that fails to meet their needs.
That's where CASA volunteers – and you – step in.
When you support the National CASA Association, you ensure that your state and local CASA programs have the quality training, support and funding they need to make life better for abused and neglected children. You also send a powerful message to foster kids: their community believes in their future.
Our goal is to ensure that every foster child has a CASA volunteer, but tens of thousands of kids are still waiting for that day. As you read this report of our accomplishments over the past year, know that you – our dedicated state and local program staff, committed volunteers, and generous partners and donors – played a critical role in all of them. We are grateful that you believe in us.
Michael S. Piraino
Chief Executive Officer