CASA of Harford County, Inc.
101 South Main Street, Suite 303
Bel Air, MD 21014
Fax: (410) 420-6740
What is CASA of Harford County?
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Harford County began serving children in the foster care system 20 years ago, in 1995 when Judge William O. Carr assembled a team of people to launch this program in Harford County. We are a non-profit organization that trains community members to act as advocates for children who are involved in the court system due to their being placed in the foster care system. Our advocates speak up for the children in court to assure that they have the best chance to find a permanent and loving home as quickly as possible. Since its inception, CASA of Harford County has provided advocates for over 800 children.
A Message From the Director:
Thanks for stopping by to learn more about CASA of Harford County. CASA is truly an amazing program that operates throughout the country doing great work. Having worked with children at risk for the entirety of my career in foster care and group homes, I know the system and how it can affect these vulnerable children. Not until I came to CASA did I finally find a place that really, finally, seemed to make a difference for children. There is nothing more important to a child than knowing that there are grown-ups out there looking out for you. So many of these children just don’t feel that level of support. When we provide a CASA for a child I know that child is in good hands and someone is looking out for their best interests in this sea of confusion that foster care can be. CASA Volunteers are the most amazing people on the planet to me. I am blessed to be able to watch the work that they do and to be a part of it. I hope you look more into CASA and what you can do to help us in some day providing an advocate for every child in care in Harford County.
Ross DiEdoardo, Director
What is the Need?
- Approximately 235 Children are under court protection in Harford County as a result of abuse and neglect
- Last year, 121 children were fortunate to have a CASA assigned to their case.
- Over 100 children were in need of CASA volunteers and didn’t have one.
- The program is always in need of more volunteers from all walks of life.
How Can You Help?
- Become a CASA Volunteer
- Make a Financial Contribution
- Become a Board Member
- Become a Corporate Sponsor
- Help with a Fundraiser
Volunteer Spotlight: Steve Cunningham
Service Site: CASA Harford County
How long have you been a CASA volunteer? Since March, 2015
Work Experience outside of CASA: 30 year teacher at The Sheppard Pratt Pratt Hospital Forbush School; 7 year School Principal in Harford County and currently in “semi” retirement working as an Academic Coach at CCBC Essex and Program Manager for SAGE an educational/vocational non profit.
How did you hear about CASA, and what made you decide to volunteer? I had heard about CASA over the years in the newspaper and through word of mouth and saw one of their recruitment booths at the Towsontown Festival a couple of years ago and they put me in touch with the Harford County office.
I have always worked with “at-risk” students throughout my career and was missing the personal interaction, in my “semi” retirement, and this turned out to be a great way to stay involved in helping kids to write the next chapter of their lives.
Describe your current I am working with two delightful brothers ages 13 & 15 who are in foster care. They have had a tough go of it with domestic violence in their past but are responding well in school and life and have a solid future in front of them.
What sorts of activities do you and your CASA child/youth like to do together? We enjoy going to sporting events and just being together. We went to a Ravens and Aberdeen Iron Birds game and I took them to their first Dairy Queen! We also participated in an Eating Healthy Cooking Class sponsored by CASA of Harford County.
What is the most rewarding part of being a CASA volunteer? The most rewarding thing about being a CASA is the face to face contact with a youth in need. There is only so much impact that you can have by making a donation of money to a cause. But, to have a personal involvement in another person’s life that could use your help and you get to see the changes is priceless.
What is one thing you would say to someone else interested in volunteering? Just Do It! It doesn’t take up a lot of your time, its great to feel connected to something bigger than yourself, it’s interesting to see how our juvenile court system works, and most importantly…it’s FUN!
What are CASA volunteers doing to help overcome the challenges faced by today’s youth? I think CASA’s provide an important community perspective to a judge and care system with regards to what is in the best interest of a foster child. Sure, there are lawyers, DSS workers and other professionals involved in a child’s case but to have a community member as part of the “team”, first of all, lets people know that the community cares and secondly, that folks are willing to step up and get involved in helping out the most vulnerable among us have a fighting chance at living a productive life.
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