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Court Appointed Special Advocate -CASA- Prince Georges County, Inc.

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Causes: Child Abuse Prevention, Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Crime & Law, Domestic Violence, Protection Against Abuse

Mission: Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)/ Prince George's County, Inc. is a volunteer-based organization that partners with the juvenile court to improve the lives of children living in foster care who have suffered from abuse and neglect. With a strong commitment to diversity, CASA/ Prince George's County trains and supervises volunteers from the community who advocate for the best interest of children, recognizing and respecting each child's individual needs. By providing a voice to children in the foster care system, it is our goal to help children and promote the timely placement of those we serve in safe, permanent homes.

Results: In the past three years, 278 children received direct, one-on-one support in relationships from caring CASA volunteers. Each of these children had a volunteer who focused on permanence and stability. In the past three years, 140 children we served achieved permanence. Of the children who achieved permanence, there were no reports of new abuse or neglect. Of the recommendations CASA volunteers make during court hearings, 81% are ordered by the court which means more services for children served by CASA. CASA was invited to participate in the Prince George's County Model Court Steering Committee and has helped to prioritize the permanency needs of the county's children and improving outcomes for older foster youth preparing to transition to independence. In 2011, created one of the first Transitioning Youth Programs amongst CASA programs to dedicate resources to preparing youth for successful transitions to adulthood. CASA has expanded services despite one of the worst economic climates. CASA has diversified our volunteer force to nearly mirror the ethnicities of the children and youth we serve.

Target demographics: Children 0-21 years old who have been adjudicated Children in Need of Assistance (CINA) by the Juvenile Court due to the severity of abuse and neglect they have endured. All children we serve are deemed low-income by the Federal government due to their foster care status.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 180

Geographic areas served: Prince George's County, Maryland

Programs: Child Advocacy; Transitional Youth Programming (for youth preparing to transition out of foster care to independence); Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) Task Force; Professional Child Welfare Training

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