Foster Children Advocates Campaign

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Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians will be spearheading a campaign during April that will use TV, billboards and phones to encourage people to volunteer as a Court Appointed Special Advocate, or CASA volunteer. CASA volunteers help foster children navigate juvenile court proceedings and ensure that the children receive therapy, abuse counseling and medical and educational support. Allison Hurtado, the CASA community outreach specialist, and CASA volunteer Lawrence Falvey will tell us more.

TED SIMONS: COMING UP, WE HEAR ABOUT EFFORTS TO RECRUIT ADVOCATES FOR ARIZONA FOSTER KIDS. CASA VOLT TOORS HELP NAVIGATE COURT PROCEEDINGS TO ENSURE KIDS RECEIVE THE SUPPORT THEY NEED. THEY ARE LOOKING FOR PEOPLE TO VOLUNTEER BY WAY OF A HIGH-PROFILE RECRUITMENT CAMPAIGN. WITH US LAWRENCE VALVY. WHAT IS THAT?

ALLISON HURTADO: IT'S A FANCY WAY OF SAYING FOSTER KID VOLUNTEERS.

TED SIMONS: SOMETIMES TWO HOUR A WEEK?

ALLISON HURTADO: SOMETIMES TWO HOURS A WEEK, IT REALLY DEPENDS ON THE VOLUNTEER AND IT'S USUALLY 15 TO 20 HOURS A MONTH.THE CASE THEY DON'T TAKE THEM HOME. AND WE TAKE IT A STEP FURTHER BY BEING IN THE COURT SYSTEM AND BACK TO THE JUDGE SO THE JUDGE HAS THE BEST INFORMATION OUT THERE.

TED SIMONS: YOU ARE A CASA VOLUNTEER.

LAWRENCE VALVY: I TRAVEL QUITE A BIT WITH MY JOB SO I WANTED TO GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY NOW THAT I AMNOT TRAVELING. I ALSO THOUGHT IT WAS A GREAT WAY OF HELPING KIDS IN FOSTER CARE AND LEARNING ABOUT THE JUDICIAL PROCESS OF FOSTER CARE.

TED SIMONS: BEFORE YOU GOT IN, WHAT DID YOU THINK YOU WERE GOING TO DO?
LAWRENCE VALVY: I THOUGHT I WOULD BE A MENTOR BIG BROTHER TYPE, WHICH IS PART OF IT, BUT MORE OF IT, BEING THE EYES AND EARS OF THE COURT. YOU HAVE TO DO COURT REPORTS, TALK WITH COUNSELORS, DOCTORS, TEACHER, TO ENSURE THE CHILD IS BEING REPRESENTED AND GETTING SERVICES.

TED SIMONS: QUICK EXAMPLE OF A COURT REPOT I'M A TEACHER. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT LITTLE JOHNNY. WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW FROM ME?

LAWRENCE VALVY: HOW IS HE DOING WELL IN SCHOOL? IEP HELPS A CHILD FALLING BEHIND IN SCHOOL BECAUSE THEY HAVE BEEN TAKEN FROM THE FAMILY OR FOSTER CARE SITUATION. IF THEY ARE NOT GOING WELL IN SCHOOL, THERE ARE INDIVIDUAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS TO HELP THESE KIDS. IF THE TEACHER THINKS THAT'S NECESSARY, THE COURT ADVOCATE RECOMMENDS GETTING THE KID SOME HELP.

TED SIMONS: AND SOME HELP IN ALL WAYS AND FORMS NOT JUST LEGAL HELP WE ARE TALKING MEDICAL HELP, COUNSELING, THE WHOLE NINE YARDS.

ALLISON HURTADO: THEY MAKE THOROUGH IS CHILD IS HAPPY AND SAFE. THEY TALK TO THE DOCTORS, THERAPISTS, ANYONE INVOLVED WITH THE CHILD.

TED SIMONS: YOU HAVE A RED FLAG CHALLENGE GOING ON THIS MONTH. WHAT IS THE RED FLAG CHALLENGE?

ALLISON HURTADO: IT'S AN EFFORT TO GET MORE VOLUNTEERS. WE ARE NOT ABLE TO GIVE EVERY CHILD IN CARE AN ADVOCATE. THAT'S THE GOAL OF THE CAMPAIGN IS TO CREATE AWARENESS THROUGH THIS PROGRAM AND THAT THERE ARE WAYS TO IMPACT THE CHILD'S COUNSELOR.

TED SIMONS: THERE ARE SOME BIG NAMES INVOLVED, INCLUDING THE HEAD COACH OF THE CARDINALS AND HIS WIFE.
BRUCE ARIANS: TO GET A CASA FOR EVERY CHILD IS IMPORTANT. WINNING FOOTBALL GAMES IS IMPORTANT TO KEEP MY JOB. THIS IS MORE IMPORTANT TO ME PERSONALLY.
CHRISTINE ARIANS: THIS IS SUCH AN IMPORTANT PROGRAM INITIATIVE BECAUSE WE NEED TO GROW THE NUMBER OF VOLUNTEERS AND GET THE WORD OUT HOW NEEDED IT IS. THE BULK OF THE KIDS IN THIS SYSTEM ARE IN MARICOPA COUNTY BECAUSE THAT'S WHERE THE POPULATION IS. WE ARE PUSHING FOR THE FOLKS IN MARICOPA COUNTY TO STEP UP.

TED SIMONS: WHEN YOU TALK TO OTHER PEOPLE ABOUT WHAT YOU DO…YOU DO RECRUITING, I WOULD THINK, OVERT OR NOT. WHAT DO THEY NEED TO KNOW? WHAT SHOULD THEY KNOW?

LAWRENCE VALVY: THERE ARE A QUALIFICATIONING TO BE OVER 21, PASS A BACKGROUND CHECK AND GO THROUGH 30 HOURS OF TRAINING. AFTER THAT, THEY ARE GIVEN OPTIONS. YOU ARE GOING TO GET MORE OUT OF IT THAN THE CHILDREN ARE. THE FACT THAT THE GRATITUDE, AND THE FACT THAT YOU ARE HELPING KIDS BE SAFE IS A TREMENDOUS FEELING.

TED SIMONS: REWARDING. IT MUST BE AWFULLY REWARDING, ESPECIALLY WHEN THINGS WORK OUT WELL.

LAWRENCE VALVY: SADLY, THE DIFFERENCE IS THE CASA. KIDS IN FOSTER CARE LESS TIME WHEN THEY HAVE A CASA. THEY ARE LESS LIKELY TO RETURN WHEN THEY HAVE A CASA. KIDS ARE IN FOSTER CARE WHEN THEY HAVE A CASA AND LESS LIKELY TO RETURN.

TED SIMONS: SOMEONE WATCHING, WONDERING HOW TO GET INVOLVED, WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR THEM TO KNOW?

ALLISON HURTADO: VISIT OUR WEBSITE. WE HAVE VIDEOS AND THEY CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIFE OF A CHILD IN FOSTER CARE.

TED SIMONS: ALL RIGHT, THANKS FOR JOINING US. GOOD LUCK WITH THE CAMPAIGN.

Allison Hurtado: CASA community outreach specialist
Lawrence Falvey: CASA volunteer

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