Quarantine is hard for all of us, but for youth in the child welfare system, it requires new levels of resilience from those who are already coping with the trauma of abuse and neglect. The majority of the children CASA Youth Advocates serves are in placements outside of their homes. The stay-at-home orders have meant not seeing parents or siblings for many months. It often means starting at a new school virtually with limited resources. It demands community support like that being offered by CASA and the Chester County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO).
CASA Youth Advocates recruits, trains and supports volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates who work to ensure that abused and neglected children in Delaware and Chester counties’ child welfare systems find a safe, permanent, and nurturing home. Ordinary community members who become Advocates act as consistent and caring adults in children’s lives. This role is more important now than ever before due to COVID-19.
The large majority of the youth served by CASA are beginning the school year virtually. This year the CCSO stepped up and offered to hold a back-to-school drive to ensure that CASA youth in Chester County had the supplies they needed. This looks a little different in times of COVID-19 when items like laptops and headphones are essential. Sheriff Fredda Maddox was concerned about vulnerable children in our communities as schools pivoted to online learning and that youth in foster homes or with grandparents have unmet needs. Members of the CCSO serve as community builders and saw the need to reduce the financial burden on these families. The community has responded and the supplies were delivered to CASA youth in time for their first day of virtual learning.
Partnerships like this one and support from the community will continue to be essential during these unprecedented times. The Chester County CASA Office recently relocated and is excited to be on the 3rd floor of the Chester County Bar Association office. Learn more about volunteering or donate to CASA Youth Advocates at chescocasa.org.