Help Restore Funding to CASA Programs!
Dear Fellow Horseman:
One of the great honors of my life was the invitation to serve on the national board of the Court Appointed Special Advocates Association, CASA. I was there for three terms and remain on the emeritus advisory board. This often unsung organization helps thousands of terribly abused and neglected kids by working through the courts to find safe and permanent homes.
As an author and journalist, I have spent more than 2,000 hours in the courtroom. I know how the courts work. I also know that in many child welfare cases a living, breathing, human being trapped in a small body faces further entrapment - just another name in a lawyers stack of files. CASA volunteers make that child a person again. These selfless Americans have the time a busy lawyer doesn't have - time to give personal attention to a case long after the doors of the courthouse have closed for the day. They take the hours to not only work with the child, but to nurture a relationship with caregivers that will eventually lead to a real family for a kid that otherwise, more often than not, faced a grim future.
Much of CASA's funding comes from the federal government. Now $15 million has been cut from CASA's Department of Justice budget, funding that is absolutely essential for the work to continue. The following appeal came to me this morning from CASA headquarters in Seattle.
I realize that no matter what your political beliefs, we all agree that we need to cut federal spending. But this tiny portion of the budget is sacred and must be preserved because in most cases these chidren have nobody else but a lone CASA volunteer.
I'm asking you, dear friend, to help
Steven Long, Editor
NOTE I RECEIVED FROM CASA THIS MORNING:
Please contact your US Representative immediately-and no later than Tuesday, May 17-to request that they sign a support letter to restore $15 million for CASA programs.
Visit house.gov/representatives/ to find contact information for your Representative. You can call or email the Congressional office.
Please edit and personalize the message below as appropriate for you. The second paragraph captures the main message to convey. Suggested message:
I'm (name), a (position - staff, volunteer, board member) with (program name), a program in the Representative's district. (Program name) recruits and trains citizen volunteers, who are appointed by judges to advocate for abused and neglected children. Nationwide, there are 75,000 volunteer court-appointed advocates, representing 240,000 children in the court system because of abuse and neglect. These children are the responsibility of our government systems because they have been removed from their homes for their safety and protection. CASA volunteers step forward as compassionate adults trained to assure children's safekeeping and well-being at a time when it matters most.
I am calling (writing) to ask that Representative (name) sign on to a "dear colleague letter" that is being circulated in the House this week, requesting that the Appropriations Committee provide $15 million for CASA programs in FY 2012. Funding reductions under the continuing resolution for FY 2011 will adversely impact CASA advocacy for an estimated 2,500+ child victims of abuse or neglect. Funding needs to be restored to the FY 2010 level of $15 million. Please contact Cheri.Hoffman@mail.house.gov (5-5065) to sign on to the letter. The deadline is May 18. Thank you.
Questions? Contact M. Carmela Welte, Deputy CEO, National CASA.
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