Many of these children have been removed from their homes, sometimes separated from their siblings and placed in foster care. They’re adjusting to new foster homes and new schools all in the midst of the holidays, making it more stressful and challenging than ever. However warm and welcoming a child’s foster family may be, a child may experience a sense of abandonment or betrayal because they aren’t celebrating with their biological family this year. It is important to creating normalcy and joy for children during this time.
These children can associate feelings of intense loneliness and despair during this time of year. There is a certain lack of normalcy and feeling of being left out when a child doesn’t have happy memories to share. Past trauma associated with the holiday season can produce different behaviors, and some children may act out as a coping mechanism. It’s hard for many of us to imagine the anxiety that children in the foster care system must feel. Suddenly, their lives and futures are in the hands of total strangers, from lawyers, caseworkers, and judges, to therapists. Add all of this to this the confusion and self-blame that children feel when their parents cause them irrevocable pain.
When a CASA volunteer comes and says “I am here, just for you.” that is powerful and life-changing for the child. During the holiday season, our CASA volunteers put in the extra effort to make our community’s children feel a sense of normalcy and joy. With the generosity of numerous donors and partners, CASA Kane County works to add that normalcy into the children’s lives, from providing gifts for children in care as well as the rest of the children in the household. We are thankful for the Women’s Board of Brookfield Zoo for inviting foster families for an afternoon with Santa among many other wonderful activities. We are also thankful to the Paramount Theatre in Aurora who provided complimentary tickets to The Sound of Music for our children in care. These CASA Kane County appreciates partners and donors who provide these experiences for children in foster care who would not otherwise have these opportunities.
Creating Normalcy and Joy for Children
Creating Normalcy and Joy for Children
CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Kane County has experienced a staggering increase in child abuse and neglect cases in the last 4 years. Year to date in November, we have served 606 children via 351 cases. That is 606 vulnerable children this year who may be experiencing a different kind of holiday season of worry, anxiety, and unknowns. CASA creates HOPE. CASA’s only mission is to represent the best interests of these foster youth, which range in age from birth to 21 years of age. At CASA Kane County, we can help a child’s story be known, heard, and changed. We defend the defenseless by providing a child with a CASA/GAL Volunteer — a trusted adult who the child can rely on during their journey through the child welfare and foster care systems. CASA provides a child with something that they can’t see but what they can’t live without – HOPE – for someone to protect them, know their value, speak on their behalf, care for them, and ultimately, to help them find a safe, permanent, loving home.
When working with children in the foster care system, it’s important to be mindful about their own associations with the holiday season. It’s important to ask them about their own happy memories, and the memories they may have about less happy times. It’s important to acknowledge traditions the children had and try to recreate some of those experiences to bring a sense of familiarity, comfort and try to create normalcy for them.
While many of us are taking time off this holiday season to enjoy friends and family, there are still children in our community who need us. We need your support this upcoming year to continue to support the children in our community and provide them a voice and advocate to support their best interests.
Protecting children is EVERYONE’S job, and we need your help to continue this great advocacy work to serve our mission and help our children in need. You may not have the time to be a Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian ad Litem volunteer, but you do have the ability to make sure that children have a voice in court. Powerless children need powerful friends. Take a stand against child abuse.
As we approach the New Year, our goal is to: continue to provide a CASA/GAL volunteer advocate for 100% of the children in need in our community . We cannot do this alone, we need you. Support CASA Kane County by Donating, Volunteering or Connecting today – and help restore someone’s childhood.