The beginning of a new school year brings excitement as students look forward to sharing summer experiences with friends and parents anticipate the next chapter in their child’s academic journey. However, for many youth in foster care, the new school year brings anxiety and uncertainty since they don’t know whether they will be in the same school next month, next year. It is not uncommon for foster youth to change schools mid-year; studies show that every school change sets foster youth back academically 4 to 6 months.
To support local foster youth, members of our community are stepping forward to help with their transitions, whether a change of schools, homes or preparing for life as an adult. Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) volunteers work with a youth or sibling group in foster care. They receive comprehensive training from to learn about the foster care system, the resources available to foster youth and how to best support a young person who has been abused, abandoned or neglected. CASA volunteers frequently help with educational matters, often resulting in academic improvement. Make September a new beginning for you, too, by becoming a CASA volunteer. Classes start Oct. 2; call 209-722-2272 or go to www.mercedcasa.org.
Diane Neves, Vice President, Board of Directors, CASA of Merced