Honoring Black History Month by Advocating for Children in Foster Care – Volunteers Needed

Submitted article from the Foster Care Review Board

Phoenix, AZ- As we enter into Black History Month, we would like to show homage to pioneering figures, such as Shirley Chisholm who became the first black woman to be elected to Congress, Bayard Rustin who organized and strategized the March on Washington in August 1963, and Mae Johnson the first black woman who orbited space aboard the Shuttle Endeavour. With honoring these achievements and individuals, we are calling on communities across the state to join us in advocating and supporting children in foster care. We are seeking volunteers to make a difference in the lives of these children.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, black children are likely to enter and remain in foster care for longer periods of time and who are often overrepresented in the foster care system.  This disparity highlights the need for volunteers to step in and provide support and advocacy for the children in care.

Volunteers can make a difference in various ways and being a consistent and supportive voice in the lives of foster children is one of them. By offering their time, volunteers can help improve the overall wellbeing and outcomes for children in foster care from all backgrounds.

So come join us and help overcome barriers and create opportunities to succeed. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of children in foster care and honor the legacy of black Americans who have paved the way for future generations.

The Foster Care Review Board is a five-member panel that make recommendations to the Juvenile Court. There are Boards in each of Arizona’s 15 counties and the volunteers are appointed by the Presiding juvenile Court Judge. Volunteers do not need any prior special training and come from all walks of life. Anyone 21 years of age or older, who can pass a background check, is available one weekday per month and can complete a one- or two-day training, is encouraged to apply. To learn more about becoming a FCRB volunteer and to find your local program visit, www.azfcrb.org.

If you are seeking a volunteer opportunity with more of a direct link to advocate for a child in Arizona’s foster care system, the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program may be the one for you.  CASA is a volunteer-based program administered by the Dependent Children’s Services Division of the Arizona Supreme Court. When you become a CASA, you visit the child you are paired with once a month, advocate for their best interest, and make recommendations to the Court regarding their placement and permanency plan. The requirements to become a CASA are that you must be at least 21 years of age, pass a background check, able to dedicate 10-12 hours per month, and complete 30-hours of pre-service raining. To learn more about becoming a CASA volunteer visit, www.AZCASAVolunteer.org.