Against All Odds: CASA

No Child Forgotten

 


CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates, are trained volunteers who represent abused and neglected children in juvenile court. They stand up for the rights of the kids and make sure their cases don't fall between the cracks of the system.

 

If you can't be a foster parent but want to help a child, you can become a special advocate to one of the half-million kids in the system.

 

"The social workers who are helping these kids are overworked. They're underpaid," Dr. Phil says. "By becoming a special advocate, you get some brief training, and you become the eyes and ears of the court, of the judge."

Dr. Phil introduces Michael Piraino, chief executive officer of the National CASA Association, who explains their new intitiative, the Forgotten Children Campaign. "The whole point of it is that no child should be forgotten. No child
who has been beaten up, sexually abused should be left to deal with that on their own," he says. "We want to recruit people " good, moral, ethical people " to come in and be advocates for these kids, and God bless everyone who is willing to speak up for a kid like this."

"You gave me a statistic that I thought was staggering," Dr. Phil says, asking Michael to repeat the information.

"If this were a disease, in the last 24 hours it would have killed four children," he says. "In this country, we can stop that. We can prevent it."

"All of us can become advocates for this," Dr. Phil emphasizes. "We can step up, get the training and become volunteers."


Currently, CASA has close to 60,000 volunteers and works with about a 250,000 kids per year. "The goal for this year is 300,000 kids," Michael says. "My goal and our goal, ultimately, is a volunteer for every one of the half-million kids."

The Dr. Phil Foundation is jump-starting the fund-raising and will match dollar for dollar the first $50,000 donated by the public. "Robin and I have agreed to become the
face of this campaign," Dr. Phil says.

There are close to 550 chapters of CASA around the country. If you want to get involved, find the one closest to you.

To donate to the CASA Forgotten Children Campaign, visit The Dr. Phil Foundation.