CALL TO ACTION: SAVE CASA-NYC

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From: Your Name <you@example.com>
To: gov.cuomo@chamber.state.ny.us,bonacic@nysenate.gov,skelos@nysenate.gov,Felder@nysenate.gov,Speaker@assembly.state.ny.us,jdklein@senate.state.ny.us,WeinstH@assembly.state.ny.us,PaulinA@assembly.state.ny.us,LupardoD@assembly.state.ny.us
Subject: CALL TO ACTION: SAVE CASA-NYC


We write today to express the urgent need to continue funding for Court Appointed Special Advocates in New York City (CASA NYC). The New York State Office of Court Administration has cut funding for CASA state-wide by $800,000, which represents the program's entire budget. CASA provides critical services to over 1,500 of New York City's neediest children.

CASA NYC is going to lose $340,000 if this cut goes through and will close its doors after 34 years of service to our city's vulnerable children. The abused and neglected children CASA-NYC serves are among the most vulnerable in the state, yet the agencies charged with serving them have historically been overloaded. CASA gives hope, stability and security to children who have been abused or neglected by the adults in their lives.

CASA NYC is a unique, volunteer based organization with one mission: to ensure that children who have been removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect do not spend needless time in foster care, that they are returned to rehabilitated and loving parents, freed for adoption or prepared to leave foster care and live on their own. Each year CASA NYC serves youngsters who, without the help of a CASA advocate, would be shifted from foster home to foster home, would go without essential services, and who would never reach their full potential.

CASA is a cost effective way to make a cumbersome and overburdened system work on behalf of the children entrusted to it since it relies largely on volunteers. Studies have shown that children in foster care who have a CASA advocate spend fewer years in foster care and are less likely to re-enter foster care once they leave it.

In 2012 over 120 volunteers in NYC gave over 20,000 hours of advocacy - a cost savings in itself.

Our advocates give voice to those who cannot speak for themselves. Toward this end, CASA has played a crucial role in assisting New York City's overburdened family court system to meet the needs of children in foster care. Advocates gather information about a child's health, developmental and educational needs and identify needed services. Advocates then continue to monitor each case, seeing that it reaches a swift and satisfactory conclusion, that all mandated services are accessible and provided and that the child's safety - free from further abuse or neglect - is maintained.

Please see Ginia Bellafante's article in The New York Times on CASA's work:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/27/nyregion/small-savings-on-the-backs-of-foster-children.html?ref=bigcity&_r=0

Also, CASA in the New York Law Journal:
http://www.newyorklawjournal.com/PubArticleNY.jsp?id=1202586191178&Advocates_for_Children_Fear_Dire_Effects_of_Budget_Cuts&slreturn=20130030100300

It is critical that CASA statewide be protected by adding a line item in the 2013-14 state budget.

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Campaign (<em>3074</em>): <em>CALL TO ACTION: SAVE CASA-NYC </em>
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