Currently, there are over 4000 children in Lancaster County who are in the foster care system because of abuse or neglect. They're attending court hearings, adjusting to new foster homes and transitioning to new schools. That's a heavy burden for a child to carry alone. These children often go hungry, lack basic medical care and are sometimes left alone to fend for themselves. Many children suffer physical or sexual abuse at the hands of the very person who is supposed to be their protector. Add to that the uncertainty and chaos of the child welfare system and the situation can quickly become devastating for so many children right here in Lancaster County.
Thankfully, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) volunteers make sure a child's voice is heard and their best interests are protected in Juvenile Court. We are part of a nationwide network of 87,000 trained volunteers who serve more than 280,000 children across the country who have experienced abuse or neglect. In Lincoln and Lancaster County, we have 127 trained volunteers showing Lincoln's most vulnerable children that they are special and there is hope for a brighter future.
Meet Suzie and Marcus. After years of physical and emotional abuse and multiple foster placements, including unsafe housing and no adult supervision for long periods of time, "Suzie and Marcus" have been adopted by a family that loves and cares for them. Suzie and Marcus' CASA volunteer made sure both children were seeing a therapist and that their education needs were met. She insured that all of the professionals involved in the case listened to Suzie and Marcus' wants and needs. CASA volunteers are problem solvers who concentrate on one case and get the system moving. Suzie and Marcus now have a "forever family" due to the hard work and support of their CASA volunteer along with the other professionals assigned to their case.
In 2017, CASA for Lancaster County has provided advocacy services to 231 children like Suzie and Marcus, giving them a voice.
But we're not done.
With your support, more children can thrive. We at CASA for Lancaster County are determined to make sure every child in our county who has experienced abuse or neglect has the opportunity to thrive in a safe and loving home. Your generous support makes our work on behalf of these vulnerable children possible. We expect an even greater need for our services in 2018.