Are We Tending to Our Children’s Garden of Hope?

<b>Are We Tending to Our Children’s Garden of Hope?</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Spring is in the air. During these months of renewal and growth, ask yourself whether you are doing all you can to help a child in need. Are you helping to plant the seeds of success in children less fortunate; those who perhaps are lingering in foster care because they were abused or neglected?

The findings from a National Online Harris Poll commissioned by the National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association show that 87 percent of Americans believe improving foster care should be a national priority. The poll also found that although the community deems the issue important, 83 percent of adults polled know little or nothing about the experiences of children in foster care. Despite their lack of awareness of foster care, 73 percent of adults surveyed agree that they have the potential to positively influence the lives of foster children.

“These are people we — and our foster youth — so desperately need,” said National CASA CEO Michael Piraino. “We know that when a CASA volunteer is involved, children are 95 percent less likely to re-enter the foster care system. There are people out there who are willing to help, they just don’t know how.”

When asked what foster children want, they say it’s simple — “We just want someone to be there to listen. We trust people who are willing to listen to us.”

“African-American children represent 32 percent of America’s 510,000 children in foster care but only 15 percent of the general population. Not only are these children disproportionately overrepresented in foster care, but once in the foster care system, children of color tend to receive fewer services, stay in care longer and generally have worse outcomes than white children,” said Ernestine S. Gray, National CASA Board president and Orleans Parish Juvenile Court Judge in New Orleans.

To learn about volunteering, visit You can also call 1-888-805-8457. Today, more than 950 CASA/GAL offices operate in 49 states, with more than 59,000 men and women serving as CASA/GAL volunteers.

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