The Bergen CASA Bulletin: 2nd Half 2022
Executive Director’s Letter
We especially appreciate your support for Bergen CASA NOW when a lot of people think that the pandemic is over. Not for us! Our families are still dealing with repercussions from COVID-19 exacerbated by recent cost-of-living increases for food, gas and clothing. This means that our vulnerable children need their CASAs more than ever as they enter foster care having experienced greater abuse, trauma, and neglect than in the past. And our foster parents also need more support to successfully meet these children’s needs.
This year has been the perfect storm for Bergen CASA – increased costs and needs for our families coupled with a reduction in our federal government funding which is our main source of revenue from the Federal Victims of Criminal Acts (VOCA) grant. Last year it was cut over 30% from $200,000 to $137,000 and it will be further reduced next year according to New Jersey CASA. This means that we are more dependent upon non-government funding than ever before.
In this newsletter you can read about a recently released 5-year study of CASA in New Jersey conducted by Rutgers University which endorsed the incredible, positive impact Advocates make, as described by our youth and extolled by our judges. Each newsletter will also feature a story of a foster child and an Advocate—the two populations that are at the heart of what we do.
I cannot leave this letter without telling you about one of my ambitious goals—Fostering Futures. Fostering Futures focuses on training our Advocates to become mentors and enabling them to accompany their appointed youth to programs, events, etc. which may not have been easily available to them otherwise. This will be a huge gamechanger for our Advocates and foster children as it will focus on the future potential of our youth.
Finally on behalf of our staff, volunteers and foster youth I would like to extend my gratitude to you, our invaluable donors. Through your support we are investing in the future of our most vulnerable children hoping to mitigate the cycles of abuse and neglect and put them on a path to a brighter future.
Thank you for making Bergen CASA, which is so near and dear to my heart, the beacon for foster advocacy it is today and will continue to be in the future.