SISKIYOU COUNTY – The CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to recruiting, training and supervising community volunteers who serve as court advocates for children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect.
The program is in jeopardy of losing federal funding, and Cliff Lantz, executive director of CASA of Siskiyou County, is urging the public to contact Senator Diane Feinstein to ask that the program be spared from devastating funding cuts, stated a press release issued by CASA.
On Tuesday, July 16, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee will meet to determine the FY 2014 funding level for the CASA program.
The administration’s proposal is to delete all funding for the program, and the House Appropriations Subcommittee is recommending just $3.5 million.
“Federal funding for the CASA program has been the most significant source of funds for starting new CASA programs since 1990, and is a primary funding stream to expand CASA advocacy for our children,” stated the release. “Your senator, Dianne Feinstein, is a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that will decide the funding level for CASA next Tuesday.”
Lantz asks members of the public to act immediately by emailing Feinstein to urge her to appropriate the authorized funding level of $12 million for the CASA program.
According to the CASA of Siskiyou County website, studies show that children assigned a CASA advocate reach housing permanence more quickly, receive more services, have fewer foster care placements, do better in school and are less likely to re-enter the foster care system due to further abuse and/or neglect.
“These outcomes are all the more remarkable when one considers that CASA volunteers are generally assigned to the most difficult of dependency cases,” stated the website.
Presently, CASA of Siskiyou County has 32 active volunteers working with 42 percent of the foster children in the county. Seventeen children are on a waiting list to be assigned a CASA volunteer.
To reach Feinstein, visit congressmerge.com/onlinedb/.
By entering the local zip code (only), the website will allow one to access the contact information for members of Congress. Click on the “Contact Form” for Senator Feinstein to be linked directly to her. From here, one can submit his or her request. This is the only Senate office that needs to be contacted with this request.
To view a sample letter to Feinstein, visit Siskiyoudaily.com and click on this article. The sample letter will be included at the end of the article.
Those with questions may contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
To donate funds to CASA of Siskiyou County, visit siskiyoucasa.org or mail donations to CASA of Siskiyou County, P.O. Box 1337, Yreka, Calif. 96097.
Page 2 of 2 - Sample Message to Send to Senate Offices:
Please restore full funding of $12 million as authorized for the CASA program in the Violence Against Women Act.
In a Justice Appropriations Subcommittee hearing with Attorney General Eric Holder on June 6, Chairman Mikulski noted that $6.9 billion— a full 25% of the Department of Justice budget proposal for FY 2014— is taken up for federal prisons. And the prison population is ever-increasing.
CASA advocacy is an important strategy in criminal prevention efforts. A study by the National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice, has found that children who have been abused or neglected are 59% more likely to be arrested as juveniles. And foster youth are 30% more likely to become violent criminals as adults.
The Department of Justice has recognized the CASA model as a model juvenile delinquency prevention program. More than 400,000 children still need CASA advocates to protect their safety and bring stability into their futures.
With the continued rise in the prison population, and its impact upon society, restoring funding for the CASA program is neither controversial nor debatable. It is a proven solution to bring stability into vulnerable children’s lives, and to prevent far more costly consequences for their futures and that of society.
Thank you for your attention and support to this critical issue!