Child advocates in Iowa receive 2019 Outstanding Volunteer Program Award

Anne Christensen, the local Court Appointed Special Advocates coordinator, speaks about the need for more volunteers within the CASA program during a 20th anniversary dinner at Pizza King on Feb. 8, 2018. CASA was awarded the 2019 Outstanding Volunteer Program Award this year.

At the 2019 Iowa Nonprofit Summit the Iowa Child Advocacy Board — which administers the Court Appointed Special Advocate program and the Iowa Citizen Foster Care Review Board programs — was honored with the Outstanding Volunteer Program Award.

These programs serve children who have experienced abuse and neglect and who, through no fault of their own, find themselves involved in the child welfare and juvenile court systems, according to a release.

In fiscal year 2019, a dedicated force of 669 volunteers advocated for the best interests of more than 3,000 children in Iowa, the release said. These volunteers help to ensure that the children they serve are safe, have their needs met through services, and have a nurturing, permanent placement where they can thrive.

“We thank our CASA and FCRB volunteers right here in southwest Iowa that help support our community’s children,” said Anne Christensen, Child Advocacy Board coordinator for the region.

ICAB volunteers advocate for the best interest of children through fact-finding, observation, talking to all people involved with the child and providing written reports with recommendations to the court, the release said. They help lead cases forward to the best possible resolution for the children.

Volunteers also make up the governor-appointed positions of the ICAB State Board, the Friends of Iowa CASA/FCRB Board members and many program support volunteers, all of whom are extremely instrumental in providing guidance to our programs and funding to help build capacity to do more. They make a tremendous impact in the quality of service given to children.

“It was a great honor to accept the 2019 Outstanding Volunteer Program Award on behalf of our staff, all our caring Court Appointed Special Advocates, Foster Care Review Board members, state board and friends board members, and program support volunteers,” Iowa Child Advocacy Board Administrator Jim Hennessey said in the release. “We are grateful for their faithful advocacy for Iowa’s vulnerable children. We couldn’t be more proud of them.”

“A safe child in a safe family today makes safer communities. Many of the Iowa Child Advocacy Board’s volunteers believe it is one of the best things they have ever done to impact their community,” Christensen said. “There are thousands of children in Iowa waiting for someone to speak up for them; they need you.”

For more information about how you may serve in the CASA and FCRB volunteer programs, visit childadvocacy.iowa.gov or call Christensen at 712-328-4811.

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