(click on poster to enlarge)
Separated from their siblings, some children in North Platte have changed schools five times in one year, moving from place to place with their possessions in a garbage bag, said Julie Nielsen of North Platte.The best interests of the child is too often lost when a family falls apart, but if the child is fortunate, a CASA volunteer is there to look out for them.
A fundraiser is underway for the CASA program – court appointed special advocates – volunteers who look out for the interests of foster children.
The fundraiser is held in conjunction with “Stop America’s Violence Everywhere” (SAVE) day on Oct. 9, an annual nationwide observance sponsored by the American Medical Association Alliance.
“Most of us assume the child welfare system cares adequately for children who have been removed from their families due to allegations of abuse or neglect," Nielsen said. "Sadly, this is not the case.”
There are currently 16 advocates who each donate 3-4 hours a week to help the children. CASA pays an executive director a modest amount to keep the operation organized. It gets no government funding.
For two years, the Lincoln County Medical Alliance, a group of doctor’s spouses, has held an October bake sale to raise money for CASA. Medical practitioners have kicked in another $500 in matching funds.
This year, the alliance is asking for donations in a "no bake" sale because “we care, but are simply too busy to bake,” their poster says.
Medical practitioners have agreed to match up to $500 again, Nielsen said.
“CASA volunteers are amazing people and I wish every child had one,” she wrote in a letter to potential supporters. “These children need someone to stand up for them and make sure the system truly meets the child’s need. That person is a CASA volunteer.”
Drop-off buckets for contributions will be placed at the Equitable Bank, Wells Fargo Advisors, Phares Agency, First National Bank-main bank, Nebraskaland National Bank-main bank.
Checks can be made out to “Lincoln County CASA” and mailed to Julie Nielsen, 8184 S. Buffalo Road, North Platte NE 69101. Donations are tax deductible.
If interested in being a CASA volunteer, contact CASA Executive Director Vicki Lawton at 520-0577.