Arizona Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch uspeaks to the need for more special advocates for children, April 3, 2013. (Mary K. Reinhart/Arizona Republic)

Arizona Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch speaks to the need for more special advocates for children, April 3, 2013. (Mary K. Reinhart/Arizona Republic)

Just a short note this Monday morning to remind all that April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. To honor the justice system’s commitment to some of our most vulnerable, Chief Justice Berch held a press conference on the steps of the Arizona Supreme Court.

The April 3 event shone a spotlight on the state’s CASA program: Court Appointed Special Advocates. As the organization describes itself:

“CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates. CASA volunteers are everyday people appointed by a judge to speak up for abused and neglected children in court. In Arizona, there are 15 county CASA programs administered by the CASA of Arizona office which is a program of the Dependent Children’s Services Division of the Arizona Supreme Court Administrative Office of the Courts. CASA of Arizona and its volunteers have been advocating for abused and neglected children in Arizona for over 25 years.”

As the Chief Justice reiterated CASA’s call for help: “Don’t wait. Advocate.”

You should more about the organization—and sign up to help—at their website.

Arizona Court of Appeals Judge Maurice Portley speaks at press conference, Phoenix, Ariz., April 3, 2013 (Mary K. Reinhart/Arizona Republic)

Arizona Court of Appeals Judge Maurice Portley speaks at press conference, Phoenix, Ariz., April 3, 2013 (Mary K. Reinhart/Arizona Republic)

You also should read the Arizona Republic article by Mary K. Reinhart on the presser and the need for more advocates.

Here is the opening of Mary’s article:

“Arizona has never had enough volunteers to work with children in foster care, and judges this week made an appeal for more court-appointed special advocates.”

“The volunteers, or CASAs, act as advisers to juvenile-court judges who oversee the cases of children removed from their homes because of suspected abuse or neglect. Each volunteer is paired with a foster child, and often becomes the one, consistent adult during a child’s time in care. They represent the child in court and make recommendations to judges about their best interests.”

“There are about 850 CASAs for more than 14,300 foster children.”

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