Supporting Northwest Oregon's children and youth in foster care
Youth that have the benefit of a relationship with a CASA are likely to have better mental health, more education, and have lower rates of poverty, early parenthood, and involvement with the justice system.
To provide even further context of that impact, we know that children in foster care and families navigating that system are dealing with trauma in various capacities. Now layer on the additional trauma of the COVID-19 public health crisis and its effects and it becomes apparent that if there ever was a time a child in foster care needs the advocacy and support of a CASA, it is now.
The Fostering Futures: Supporting Northwest Oregon's children and youth in foster care campaign aims to raise awareness of the realities children and youth in foster care face, emphasizing the essential role of CASAs as supporters that champion better outcomes for our community's most vulnerable.
Although children in Oregon enter the foster care system at a higher rate, only half of our state’s children have a CASA.
State mandate (ORS 419B.112) says every child in foster care should have the care of a CASA - local programs simply lack the funding and volunteer base to meet this goal.
We know that children of color in the foster care system are less likely to encounter caseworkers, service providers, lawyers, judges, or CASAs who share their race or ethnicity.
We commit to strengthening our partnerships with people, organizations, and businesses who reflect the identities and cultures of the children we serve.
The pandemic puts unprecedented pressure on children as they experience decreased or halted contact with support systems.
CASAS will continue to provide quality advocacy despite current events to ensure children get the care they need at an uncertain time.
We know the uncertainty many children feel when they enter foster care. When a child is assigned to CASA, their time spent in the foster care system can be reduced by eight months!
With a CASA, children are able to envision their journey to a safe and permanent home.
The child abuse hotline hasn’t received more than 300 calls in a single day since March 17, state data shows.
With social isolation, there are fewer eyes on children and youth. When and if schools start to reopen DHS will likely see a huge increase in DHS hotline calls.
On any given day in Oregon, nearly 8,000 children are in foster care. Entering foster care once is difficult, but returning can be even more detrimental.
With a CASA, chances of re-entry can be reduced by 50%.
Having a CASA on a case allows for children in foster care to always have someone in their corner in an overburdened system.
With a CASA, children are able to access more services for their growth and development such as mental health counseling and educational plans.
"In 2009 the Child Welfare Equity Task Force was established to identify and analyze the causes of disproportionality in Oregon’s child welfare system. One of the key findings showed about 20 percent of all children in foster care during the study period were children of color, despite the fact that children of color made up only 11 percent of Oregon’s general child population."
Having a CASA on the case allows for an unbiased presentation to the Judge in the best interest of the child.
There are 51 CASA Volunteers in Columbia County serving 116 children, yet there are many children who are still needing a CASA to be assigned to their case.
Columbia County is actively looking for CASAs to serve!