Clallam County CASA advocates for children in foster care who are going through the dependency court system. Volunteer Guardians ad Litem (GAL) are often the only person within the system who is a consistent presence throughout the legal process, and the only person who is advocating for the child’s best interest. National CASA statistics have shown that a child with a GAL spends less time in foster care, has fewer moves (if at all), is more likely to finish their high school education, and is less likely to engage in risky behaviors, versus the children who are not represented. It is powerful to witness the impacts that we can have for families just by having an advocate volunteer ten hours a month!
The opioid epidemic in our county has had a tremendous impact on many aspects of our community, but few feel it as deeply as our children involved with CASA. Out of the 200 children in care, 90% are there due to neglect and abuse from parents who are struggling with the disease of addiction. The road to completing treatment and being able to correct parental deficiencies is a long one; for children waiting for parents to get well it is painfully long. Having a GAL for each child is critical to ensure that these children and families do not languish in the judicial system waiting on hold for a permanent and safe home.