April is Child Abuse Prevention Month
NOTE: National County Government Week is April 6-12. This year’s theme is Protecting Our Children. April is also National Child Abuse Prevention Month. This is one of a series of news releases that examines how Pinal County government works to protect and serve children in our communities.
FLORENCE – April is National Child Abuse Prevention month, making it a good time to reflect on the more than 8,500 children in Arizona are in out-of-home care due to abuse or neglect. These children, through no fault of their own, are without a safe, permanent home where they can thrive. But you can do something about it by participating in an awareness and prevention effort to help fight against child abuse and safe homes for children.
A new statewide awareness campaign, Go Blue with CASA, will help kick off National Child Abuse Prevention month. Governor Janet Napolitano has proclaimed the week of April 20-26, 2008 as Go Blue with CASA for Child Abuse Awareness.
CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate, a volunteer who speaks up for an abused or neglected child in court. CASA is the only volunteer program that works within the court system to give children a voice. Go Blue with CASA is a grassroots awareness effort designed to bring attention to the needs of Arizona’s most vulnerable group – children.
The Pinal County CASA Program is using the color blue, the official color of child abuse prevention, to bring awareness to child abuse and the work CASAs do on behalf of children. More than 1,000 children in Pinal County are being cared for outside of a traditional home environment – meaning in foster care or being cared for by non-parent relatives.
Here are just a few ways to Go Blue:
- Put a Go Blue with CASA window cling in your car during April.
- Wear a CASA Go Blue button.
- Wear something blue every day from April 20 to 26.
- Put a blue ribbon on your door or car antenna.
Pinal County CASA can provide you with buttons, window clings, table tents and flyers to tell your family and friends what CASA is doing to fight child abuse. For more information about how you can Go Blue with CASA visit www.azcasa.org and click on the link for Go Blue or call 520-866-7076.
We hope you join us in this awareness effort. During April, let’s show that Pinal County cares about children and their safety. Together, we can Go Blue with CASA!
More about CASA volunteers:
- CASAs seek to provide protection to children and find them safe, permanent homes.
- Children are eligible for CASA assistance until they turn 18.
- A juvenile court judge appoints a CASA to work with a specific child.
- Volunteers go through a rigorous screening process including a federal and state fingerprint check, interviews, reference checks and must pass a polygraph test.
- Volunteers are asked to make a commitment of one year or the life of a case, typically involving 20 to 25 hours per month.
- CASA volunteers are advocates, not mentors. Their objective is to help the court system figure out what the best outcome is for the child.
- CASA volunteers try to build a 360-degree view of the child and his or her surroundings, meaning that they can meet with teachers, counselors, physicians, the child and his or her guardians.
- Training for CASA volunteers is offered by the state 11 times per year in both Phoenix and Tucson.
- CASA programs have been in existence for about 18 years.
- CASA is funded through unclaimed lottery money.