June is the month we highlight the celebration of families being reunited. Covington Mayor Ronnie Johnston helped bring that closer to home by proclaiming June as National Reunification Month within the city.
While these terms may sound awkward and unfamiliar to some of us, the reunification of parents and children is the reward for months of hard work.
The foster care system of Newton County currently has 110 children. Children are removed from their home when their surroundings are no longer safe for them to remain. Needless to say, this is a traumatizing ordeal for not only the children but the parents as well. DFCS, the Juvenile Court and CASA work with the families on goals and steps that can be taken for children to return safely to their homes. There are many ways to help the foster care system - but the two biggest needs of the Newton County foster children is the need for foster parents and CASA Volunteer Advocates.
A foster parent is a “for now” parent: A safe place for children to live while their parents work on the issues that need to be resolved.
A foster parent can not only support a child during this uncertain time, but they can encourage the parent by offering simple support. A picture of their child, an update on the child’s school grades, or a simple word of encouragement goes a long way in helping support a parent who is attempting to rectify their lives to make a safe environment for their children.
Having a foster parent in the same county they lived in with their parents often assists in less trauma to the child. They often do not have to change schools, friends, teachers - which goes a long way in adding stability during a time where life does not feel certain. To find out more information about becoming a foster parent, please contact 1-877-210-KIDS.
A CASA Volunteer Advocate is a community volunteer who visits a child in a foster home and gets to know the child. They are connected to not only the child but are also in contact with the birth family and the foster family. They reach out to teachers, therapists, doctors and DFCS to make ensure the child is getting all of the help and support they need during this time.
Children with CASA Volunteer Advocates are more likely to remain in their community, live with a responsible family member and feel more supported than a child without a CASA.
CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate and the goal of CASA is to assist every child in Newton County foster care. Currently, CASA is able to support 60 children but they need more volunteers like you to help. There is no education requirement to be a CASA - just a heart for children and be able to complete the free training class offered by CASA staff.
For more information on how to be a CASA Volunteer Advocate, please visit www.AlcovyCASA.org or email at email@example.com