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Discover Western Prince William April 2018
6
Court Appointed Special Advocates
Children's Intervention Services, or
CASA
CIS, is a Manassas-based nonprofi t that
has represented abused and neglected
children in Prince William County's court
systems since 1993. Originally founded by
a judge in Seattle in 1977, CASA's mission
is to "protect and serve children who are
abused, neglected, or endangered," and
to provide specially trained Advocates to
act as a voice for these children in court.
Since its Prince William inception, the
program has grown to serve the children
of Fauquier, Rappahannock, and Warren
Counties as well, making it one of the largest
CASA programs in the Commonwealth of
Virginia. Over 3,000 children from birth to
the age of 18 years have benefi ted from
CASA's services since the training of its
fi rst class of Advocates.
"Last year alone, CASA CIS served 347
children who were removed from their
homes due to abuse and neglect," says
executive director Pam Ryan, who has
a long history of fi ghting for the rights of
children and families throughout Maryland
and Washington, DC. "The U.S. Department
of Justice determined that children with a
CASA advocate receive more services,
spend less time in foster care, and are
more likely to break the chain of abuse
and be adopted into safe, loving homes."
Local volunteers are vetted and must go
through 32 hours of service training before
Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court
judges will appoint them as Advocates.
These highly trained individuals then
interact with everyone in a child's life--from
parents, relatives, and foster parents to
teachers, medical professionals, attorneys,
and social workers.
Pairing their training with the information
they gather form these interactions,
Advocates write and submit a report
containing their recommendations for
supporting the best interests of that child
directly to the court. "Advocates act as
caring adults who represent a child's
best interests through their entire court
experience," says Pam. "They are the
child's voice in court. Their job is to help
end the cycle of abuse and make sure
a child gets the appropriate services to
become a healthy, productive adult."
As a nonprofi t, CASA CIS relies on grants,
corporate gifts, community donations,
and fundraisers to continue providing
training to its Advocates, and hosts a
number of fundraisers throughout the year
to support its programs. Events include
an Evening Under the Stars Gala, which
was voted one of the best charity events
of 2017 by Virginia Living magazine and
will be held on September 14 this year.
December 6 is CASA's annual Ladies
Night Out event, and, coming up in May,
the community is invited to the second
annual "RetroBowl" bowl-a-thon.
The RetroBowl, sponsored by Wine Energy,
will be held Saturday, May 12 from 1:00
4:00 p.m. at Bowl America in Manassas
and is open to bowlers of all ages. The cost
to register a team of fi ve is $200, which
includes three games of bowling, shoe
rentals, and participation in
raffl es, door prize drawings,
and a silent auction. Trophies
will also be awarded,
including one for Best Team
Spirit. Sponsorships are still
available, including Lane
Sponsorships for $450,
which include a team of fi ve,
lane signage, and promotion
via CASA's website and
social media. Participants
can register their teams
at
www.casacis.org.
Funds raised at the RetroBowl will ensure
that every child who has been abused,
neglected, or abandoned will receive an
Advocate. "Last year's event raised over
$5,000 to support children in crisis," says
Pam. "We are excited to welcome back
the bowlers from last year and hopefully
see a lot of new faces, too!" To learn more
about CASA CIS or the RetroBowl event,
call
(703) 330-8145.
~ By Caitlin Scott
CASA Advocates from left to right: Rebecca Gillespie, Dawn
Sadler, Nell Miller, The Honorable William Sharp, 26
th
Judicial
District, Julie Cipriano, Anne Stinson, Linda Weintz
CASA Hosts Bowl-A-Thon to
Support Children in Need
Contact Info:
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Manassas, VA 20109
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