Fairfax CASA | June 20, 2016

Bilingual Volunteers Needed! Help Fairfax CASA Overcome Language and Cultural Barriers

Sara had fallen into the wrong crowd during her time at a local high school.  When she entered foster care, she was struggling with substance abuse issues and gang involvement. Sara was placed in a group home, miles away from her family (which had no transportation to visit her), where she was being treated for substance abuse, but the home had no Spanish speaking staff.  She continued to receive therapy and substance abuse treatment services in English, to no avail.  Having a language and cultural barrier between them, the social worker and all involved could not communicate effectively with her. 

Mary, a Spanish speaking CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate), was assigned to Sara and was the only person communicating with her in Spanish. Sara was finally able to communicate her needs and have her best interest voiced to her care givers, and was on the way to success. She quickly developed a close bond with her advocate.  Mary advocated for Sara to receive therapeutic services in Spanish and encouraged her to focus on her education and learning English.  Once she left the group home and was placed in a foster home, Sara achieved all A’s and B’s in her high school classes, and is now on track to graduate from high school in 2017 and plans to attend community college.*

There are several more children like Sara out there who need help, but aren’t being communicated to effectively due to language and cultural barriers.  Help Fairfax CASA give children in need a voice, and provide them with assistance in the language they are most comfortable using by becoming a CASA volunteer. Bilingual CASA volunteers can offer Hispanic children and their families the highest possible level of support. These volunteers remove the language barrier, help build rapport, and increase family cooperation and compliance.

38% of Fairfax CASA’s current cases involve a child who identifies as Hispanic or Latino, yet less than ten of their volunteers speak both Spanish and English fluently. Currently, Fairfax CASA is serving 16 families and 28 cases in which the child, parent or both only speak Spanish. Beyond the need to meet these children in the way which they feel most comfortable communicating, many parents feel more comfortable receiving assistance or information in Spanish.

Fairfax CASA is looking for caring, empathetic and knowledgeable individuals who are able to provide the Court system with insight on the best interest of those children with open abuse and neglect cases. Know someone who would be an excellent child Advocate? Ask them to apply through Fairfax CASA or stop by at one of our many information sessions.

No previous experience in child welfare or law is required.

Visit www.fairfaxcasa.org for more information and to sign up.

*All names and identifying information have been changed or removed for the privacy of those involved.

Support This Cause Through Workplace Giving & Employee Volunteerism:

Fairfax CASA is a member of America’s Charities. Your company can help fund Fairfax CASA’s work by starting an employee giving program with America’s Charities. Our online giving technology and solutions can facilitate your workplace giving campaign and other company cause initiatives, and we can also help your company manage its employee volunteerism (e.g. tracking and reporting volunteer time, finding opportunities). America’s Charities has been mobilizing the workforce to affect social change through employee giving and other company philanthropic initiatives for over 35 years and we have raised more than $650 million of sustainable funds for more than 10,000 nonprofits as a result. Contact our team now to get started.

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