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Urgent Need for Volunteers to Advocate for Abused, Neglected Children in NJ

New Jersey

By: Richard L. Smith 

Each year, more than 500 children in Passaic and Union counties are removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect.SupportThese children face a long and uncertain road ahead, and they need a caring, consistent adult to protect their best interests while in care.

This is where Child Focus and its Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program step in. Right now, there is an urgent need for volunteers to become child advocates for these waiting children, particularly those who are bilingual in English and Spanish.

“We are committed to recruiting, screening, and training advocates for every child in both Passaic and Union counties who needs one,” said Executive Director Erica Fischer-Kaslander.

“It is difficult to overstate the difference a CASA volunteer can make in the life of a child removed from home through no fault of their own, due to abuse or neglect.” She added,

“Children with volunteer advocates are more likely to have needed services ordered on their behalf, spend less time in the foster care system, and experience significantly better outcomes than those who go without. Becoming a CASA volunteer requires a significant time commitment and training, but volunteers often find the work as life-changing for themselves as it is for the children they help.”

No special child welfare or law background is necessary; successful CASA volunteers are dedicated community members with varied life experiences.

CASA volunteers receive professional training on the ins and outs of advocating for children in foster care and are fully supported by CASA staff members.

Advocates visit the children, make unbiased observations, interview those in the child’s life, and make recommendations to the judge.

They often are the only consistent adult in the life of a child involved in the child welfare system, as caseworkers, professionals, and placements are ever-changing. A CASA volunteer provides continuity during a time of chaos and unknowns.

Attending an information session is the first step to becoming a volunteer advocate. The following sessions will be held at Wayne’s Child Focus office, 415 Hamburg Turnpike, Suite D2: 

  • Monday, July 15, at 5:30 pm
  • Wednesday, July 24, at 12:00 pm
  • Wednesday, July 31, at 5:30 pm
  • Tuesday, August 6, at 5:30 pm
  • Thursday, August 15, at 12:00 pm
  • Monday, August 19, at 12:00 pm

Register now at and be one step closer to a seat in the fall training class.