Diana has announced she will host CASA Awareness Day on Beacon Hill on Tuesday, September 16th in the State House.
CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) is a national program that was founded in 1977. The idea of the program was to use trained community volunteers to speak for the best interests of abused and neglected children in court. Judges across the country soon began utilizing these volunteers and there are now more than 900 CASA programs in the nation. Most CASA advocates have full-time jobs and work on their cases in the evenings or on weekends.
The Northern Essex County CASA program launched in 1991 and in 2000 became part of Family Services of the Merrimack Valley. The program serves the Lawrence and Newburyport Juvenile Courts. Northern Essex County CASA has more than 50 volunteers who advocate annually on behalf of more than 100 children. There are more than 8,000 children in foster care in the Commonwealth due to abuse and neglect.
Diana, alongside Awareness Day co-host State Representative Leah Cole (R-Peabody), will provide for attendees an introduction on what CASA does and the positive impact it has had on abused and neglected children. CASA is partially funded by the Commonwealth, with other funding coming federally and from grants.
“Findings have shown that children who have been assigned CASA advocates spend less time in foster care than those who do not have CASA representation,” said Diana, who represents portions of North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill in the Legislature. “I am committed to fighting for sufficient funding for CASA so we in the Merrimack Valley and across the Commonwealth may have enough advocates to ensure vulnerable children do not fall through the cracks and find safe, permanent homes.”