Volunteers are a Valuable Asset in the Adoption Process
ARIZONA – Each November individuals and communities come together to celebrate and bring awareness to adoption and foster care. For over 20 years, the third Saturday in November has been designated National Adoption Day. It celebrates the child and family in their new forever home.
The Arizona Supreme Court’s Dependent Children’s Services Division facilitates two statewide volunteer programs, the Foster Care Review Board (FCRB) and the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), that are dedicated to the well-being of the approximately 10,000 children in Arizona’s foster care system. Comprised of an amazing and dedicated volunteer base, these programs are currently in need of volunteers in all of Arizona’s 15 counties.
As one volunteer expressed “The opportunity to make a difference in kids’ and families’ lives is why I got involved. What I didn’t expect is that it’s enriched my own life as much or even more.”
Volunteers are trained to recognize the importance of reunifying children with their parents when it is safe and possible. When that is not possible, volunteers advocate for a safe and permanent home with a relative (kinship) or a caring and loving adoptive family. Both CASA and FCRB volunteers connect all the dots of a child’s life to help draw the picture of what is best for the child.
As a CASA volunteer, you will visit the child and get to know their life and the people involved. You will then advocate for the child’s best interests in court and by working with others involved with the child. This could include speaking with the child’s teachers, foster family, parents, and service providers and then making recommendations to the court. A CASA volunteer stays with the child throughout the entire case and is often the one consistent adult throughout the court process.
As a FCRB volunteer, you will serve on a 5-member panel that meets virtually (via Zoom) one weekday (8:30-5:00) per month to review cases of children in foster care. On a rotating basis, the Board reviews the same cases and becomes adept to the particular needs of the child and family until permanency is achieved.
“You do not need to be steeped in child welfare experience or knowledge. You only need to have a compassion to help guide a child through one of the most emotionally difficult experiences they will have in their life,” said Charlie Gray, CASA Program Manager.
Applicants for both programs must be at least 21 years of age, pass a fingerprint background check and participate in an introductory program training.
For those looking for a different volunteer experience, the Arizona Supreme Court is also seeking to recruit community members for its more than 30 standing committees and commissions. To learn more about the Court’s Committees and Commissions visit, azcourts.gov/committeescommissions/
Anyone interested in being a volunteer advocate for children through the CASA or FCRB programs in their community is encouraged to apply at AZCASAVolunteer.org or azfcrb.org.
CASA of Arizona is now on LinkedIn @CASA of Arizona!
Follow CASA and FCRB on Facebook @CASAofArizona and @AZFCRB and Instagram @CASA_of_Arizona and @AZFCRB.