Family is always the priority for the CASA of Gila County program. When safe, children are returned to their parents (family reunification) and grow up surrounded by their own family, relatives, heritage and culture.

During June, National Family Reunification Month, CASA of Gila County recognizes the effort and dedication parents take to overcome challenges and move forward as a stronger and safer family unit.

Between July 2018 through June 2019 (FY19), 4,612 children exited the foster care system due to being reunified with their families in Arizona. Nearly 60% of the 13,000 Arizona children currently in foster care have a case plan goal of family reunification.

“All children need the love, care, security, and stability of their family to provide a solid foundation for personal growth, development and maturity,” said Patti Dremler, CASA program coordinator. “Reunification Month is a time to honor those parents who are working hard to bring their children back home.”

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) volunteer their time to advocate for children who have been removed from their homes due to physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, or emotional abuse. These volunteers follow the progress of the case and report back to the judge with their own recommendations based on the child’s best interests.

In Gila County, there are 23 volunteer advocates supporting 43 children. There are another 110 children without a CASA volunteer, with most of those cases being from the Globe area.

No specific background or training is needed to become a CASA volunteer. Anyone 21 years of age or older, who can pass a thorough background check and complete 30 hours of free training, is encouraged to apply.

CASA of Gila County is offering a new flexible pre-service training in an online interactive virtual environment. To learn more about becoming a volunteer, call 928-474-7145, email: pdremler@courts.az.gov or visit www.CASAofGilaCounty.org.

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