Henrico CASA earns $25,000 grant to promote awareness of area’s vulnerable children

Henrico CASA has received a $25,000 grant to support a national awareness campaign highlighting the need for volunteers to support children who have suffered abuse and neglect.

Henrico CASA, which also is known as Henrico County Court Appointed Special Advocates, is the only nonprofit CASA program in Virginia to receive a recruitment and awareness grant from the National Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian ad Litem (CASA/GAL) Association for Children. Thirty grants were awarded among 950 CASA programs nationwide. The grant to Henrico CASA is one of the organization’s largest ever from a private foundation.

CASA/GAL has developed a broad-based campaign, titled Change a Child’s Story, with messaging told from the perspective of children who have suffered abuse, neglect and trauma. The campaign shows the importance of having volunteer, court-appointed advocates to represent the interests of children involved in the child welfare and court systems.

With its grant, Henrico CASA will tailor and distribute the campaign in the Richmond area, using primarily social media and digital marketing. The nonprofit organization, established in 1994, has become the largest CASA program in Virginia, with 383 children served in fiscal year 2018-19 – the second highest total in Henrico CASA’s history.

“As the number of children referred to our program has increased, so has our need for caring advocates,” said Jeannine Panzera, executive director of Henrico CASA. “Simply put, we need more volunteers to meet the growing needs of our community. We are proud to have served every single child who has been referred to our agency during its 25-year history. As we look ahead to the next 25 years, we have renewed our commitment to serving all children and are delighted to have the opportunity to partner with National CASA to support this goal.”

CASA/GAL is distributing grant funds provided by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention of the U.S. Department of Justice under the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990. In 2019, CASA/GAL was awarded nearly $10.7 million in federal grants for various efforts.

Henrico CASA provides support to children who are involved in cases before the county’s Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. The organization recruits, screens, trains and supervises volunteers who advocate for children who have suffered abuse and neglect, are involved in juvenile dependency proceedings and need services or supervision. Henrico CASA also works with other nonprofit organizations and agencies to promote awareness of and support for the needs of vulnerable children.

For more information, contact Henrico CASA at (804) 501-1670 or go to henricocasa.org.

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