For the second year, Gov. Chris Sununu has proclaimed April 22 as CASA Appreciation Day in New Hampshire.
In his proclamation, Sununu recognized the more than 600 current volunteer advocates working passionately to help ensure abused and neglected children in New Hampshire are safe, feel loved and have the opportunity to grow up in nurturing, permanent homes.
“Whereas CASA volunteers provide compassion and consistency to children, and use their time and resources to help children navigate through uncertain and difficult times; and whereas as it is Child Abuse Prevention Month and Volunteer Appreciation Week, it is fitting to recognize the advocacy efforts of CASA volunteers in protecting children across the Granite State,” the official proclamation from the Governor’s desk says.
Last year, CASA of New Hampshire’s volunteers advocated for more than 1,400 children who had suffered abuse or neglect by their parents or caregivers. CASA volunteers meet monthly with the children they are assigned to advocate for, they gather information from the child’s parents and other important adults in their lives and provide judges in New Hampshire’s family courts with recommendations for what they believe to be in the child’s best interests.
“This past year has presented extraordinary challenges, but the CASA advocates and the staff, they’ve stepped up and delivered for our kids time and time again,” Sununu said in a video message he prepared to share the proclamation with CASA volunteers and supporters. “No matter the situation, you’ve found ways to connect with Granite Staters and remain a constant presence in the lives of the children and the families that you serve.”
When reported cases of child abuse and neglect plummeted at the beginning of the pandemic last year, CASA of New Hampshire quickly adapted its training and recruitment practices to continue to find new volunteers and prepare them to take cases in anticipation of a possible surge of cases. All information sessions, interviews and trainings were moved online and continue to be held that way today. Volunteers came up with creative ways to connect with their children virtually, or in distanced ways, and have remained flexible, adapting to changes and helping to ensure their children receive the support they need.
“We are constantly impressed by the flexibility and adaptability displayed by our volunteers, especially over the past 13 months,” CASA of NH CEO and President Marcia Sink said. “We are grateful to Gov. Sununu for continuing to recognize the important work CASA volunteers and staff do each day to help keep our children safe and give them the opportunity to thrive.”