The Wisconsin CASA Association has been awarded a $68,800 state development grant from the national Court Appointed Special Advocate Association. The funds will be used to recruit, screen and train CASA volunteers to serve children who experienced abuse or neglect.

Wisconsin CASA Association is one of almost 1,000 CASA and Guardian ad Litem programs across the country that help ensure children entering the court and child welfare systems receive appropriate services, have a voice in determining their futures and find a safe, permanent home where they can thrive. In Wisconsin more than 6,400 children are in the foster care or child welfare system each year, and fewer than 700 of them have an advocate.

“The needs of Wisconsin CASA children coming into care are more complicated than ever before,” said Sue Schwartz, executive director of Wisconsin CASA Association. “Life in foster care can be chaotic, and they often don’t have anyone they trust or can turn to for help. Every child deserves the support of a caring, consistent adult with the training to help her or him heal and thrive.”

Local CASA programs serve 11 counties in Wisconsin, including Monroe, La Crosse and Vernon.

Since April of 2016, Wisconsin CASA has been awarded $300,000 through the National CASA federal grant program.

“We have been fortunate to not only be able to prove the need here in Wisconsin but also to prove our program is working and making a difference in the lives of the children we serve,” said Schwartz. “We need to find and train more volunteer advocates so that we can help even more children in our state. The grant money will help us do just that.”

Local CASA programs throughout Wisconsin will hold their next volunteer training sessions in January, February and March.

For more information about becoming a CASA volunteer or to learn about other ways to get involved, go to: wisconsin-casa.org or contact your local CASA program.

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Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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