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TO THE EDITOR:

During National Child Abuse Prevention Month in April, Eddy County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) challenges residents of Eddy County to stand against child abuse and take action to support children who have been abused or neglected.

At any given time, there are more than 100 children in foster care in Eddy County. These children come into the child welfare system through no fault of their own. More children are coming into care because of the opioid epidemic.

The number of children in Eddy County coming into care continues to grow and we aim to meet that need. Every child deserves the support of a caring, consistent, trained adult who will speak up for their best interests until they are placed into a permanent, safe, loving home where they can heal and thrive.

Throughout the month of April, CASA is calling on members of the community to help our program serve more of Eddy County’s most vulnerable children by volunteering to advocate for them as they navigate the foster care system.

Without intervention, the odds are stacked against children in foster care. A child with a CASA volunteer, however, spends 20 percent less time in foster care, on average, compared to a child without a CASA volunteer. Studies show children with a CASA volunteer receive more services that are critical to their wellbeing and are four times more likely to find a permanent home.

CASA volunteers are a constant for the child in a time of chaos. A child may have multiple social workers, therapists, and foster placements throughout the life of the case but usually only one CASA volunteer, which can make all the difference for the child’s future.

Eddy County CASA is a member of the National Court Appointed Special Advocates Association (National CASA), a nationwide network of programs in nearly 1,000 communities. At the heart of the movement are nearly 87,000 highly trained volunteers who advocate for the best interests of more than 280,000 of America’s children who have been abused or neglected. In Eddy County there are more than 40 volunteer advocates fighting for the best interests of more than 100 children, but more children need the care and support of a CASA volunteer.

For more information about CASA, to become a supporter, or to volunteer, call 746-6077, visit www.eddycountycasa.org, or stop by 605 W. Main St. in Artesia.

Libby Johnston
Executive Director, Eddy County CASA