Tom Buenger of CASA

 
 
Ventura County's Foster Children
Find a Much-Needed Voice in CASA
 
At our regular meeting on Monday, December 5, speaker Tom Buenger had some sobering statistics to share with members of Ventura Rotary South about the plight of foster children in Ventura County. Tom is a Board Member of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children).
 
"There are approximately 1,100 foster children in Ventura County," said Tom. "Virtually all of them are victims of a crime of some sort, primarily abuse or neglect, which is why they were removed from their original homes and placed in foster care. That's where CASA comes in."
 
The CASA organization, explained Tom, consists of a Board of Directors (of which he is a member) and a small paid staff. The lifeblood of the organization are the 170-plus volunteers who serve as advocates for the children. They represent them in court and, as Tom noted, may well be a child's only legal voice. Additionally, the volunteer advocates offer the children a sense of reliability and hope, qualities that are usually missing from their lives otherwise.
 
CASA volunteers receive training in child advocacy and typically devote 10-15 hours of service monthly. Tom noted that there are more than 700 children on the waiting list to be assigned an advocate, so the need for additional volunteers is critical. Donations are also needed to fund the agency's work. For additional information, visit casaofventuracounty.org or call 805-389-3120.