29 Dec Our Future
Many of you may not have been around in 1986, but if you were, it would have been hard to miss the song “Greatest Love of All” by Whitney Houston. I’m not blessed with a beautiful singing voice. In fact, my Dad lovingly told me the only way I could carry a tune was in a paper sack, but I know I belted this song out into my hairbrush on a few occasions.
The lyrics start out with these 4 lines:
I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
There is no doubt that the children are our future. The children born the year this song came out are now 35 years old! It’s also true that not all children have someone in their lives that teach them, lead the way, show them the beauty they possess, or give them a sense of pride. For more than 600 children currently in foster care in our community, the past has been filled with enough abuse or neglect to require removal from their homes and the present is often a scary place filled with many unknowns. CASAs or Court Appointed Special Advocates work to help children find their worth, while advocating for the child’s best interests and helping them find safe and permanent homes as quickly as possible.
Over the past year, Pulaski County CASAs have advocated for 249 children in the child welfare system. We have seen 26 children reunified with their families, 17 children adopted into families, 12 children find stability through guardianship, and 3 youth age out of foster care. Next year we hope to serve even more of the children in foster care because we believe every child deserves a caring adult in their lives speaking up for them, fighting for their best interests, and helping them through the hard times.
CASA volunteers often remark on how they started out as a CASA to help children in foster care but have found that their own lives are truly blessed by the children they work with. We value these children and can see the beauty they possess inside. By investing our time, we hope they come to see it also.