FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 31, 2016
Contact: Patrick Seidl, Development & Communications Associate
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Maryland CASA Kicks Off Child Abuse Prevention Month with ’30 Volunteers in 30 Days’ Campaign
TOWSON – In recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month (April), Maryland Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association is set to launch its “30 Volunteers in 30 Days” Campaign, aimed at recruiting 30 additional volunteers to serve as an abused or neglected child’s voice in court.
“The campaign is an initial step in a statewide effort to close the gap between the number of children we are currently serving and the number who are in need of our services,” said Ed Kilcullen, Maryland CASA’s state director.
Any time a child is abused or neglected, it’s a tragedy – one that all too often scars victims for a lifetime. The latest statistics from the US Department of Health & Human Services are sobering:
- Child Protective Services agencies across the United States received some 3.6 million referrals of child abuse and neglect involving approximately 6.6 million children in FFY 2014.
- An estimated 1,580 children died from child abuse or neglect in 2014, nearly three-quarters of them younger than age 3.
- Each day in Maryland, 22 children will be abused, neglected, or abandoned. Approximately 5,000 children are under court protection today awaiting safe, permanent homes. The average waiting time is over 3 years.
Studies have shown that children who have suffered abuse or neglect are more likely to struggle in school, have run-ins with law enforcement, experience homelessness, or abuse drugs or alcohol.
Maryland CASA Association, together with 15 local programs throughout the state, helps these children and youth heal so they can live happier, safer lives. CASA volunteers make sure that Maryland’s children do not get lost in the child welfare system or languish in foster care. CASA volunteers stay with children until their cases are closed and each child is placed in a safe, permanent home.
“While our ultimate goal is to prevent child abuse from ever occurring, CASA volunteers are appointed by the court to advocate for children who have already suffered abuse,” said Kilcullen. “By intervening in their lives and getting them the support they need, CASA works to break the cycle of child abuse in generations to come.”
With CASA volunteers, children are more likely to have a plan for permanency, more likely to have a consistent, responsible adult presence in their lives, spend less time in foster care, experiences less placements in foster care, and perform better in school.
The organization’s hope is for people to join in on the campaign and either sign up to become a CASA volunteer or help to spread the word about Child Abuse Prevention Month. Those interested in learning more about becoming a CASA are urged to sign up online for more information at www.marylandcasa.org or call 410-828-6761. Community members are also encouraged to learn more about child abuse prevention and the work of CASA by connecting with the organization on Facebook and Twitter.
Maryland CASA Association is a private, non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1997 that supports the work of fifteen Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) programs serving children in Baltimore City and 20 counties throughout Maryland. In FY15, 1,368 volunteers provided trained adult advocacy for 1,539 children statewide. For more information, visit www.MarylandCASA.org.