The need for CASA in Essex County is overwhelming. Children in foster care – children who have been physically abused, sexually molested, medically and educationally neglected or abandoned – are the most vulnerable individuals in our society. Foster care is designed to be a temporary shelter to protect children who would be in danger if they remained at home with their families. Most of the time, when a child is placed in foster care, DCPP caseworkers help the family to correct problems so that the child can return home. But, many of the problems facing families in crisis are difficult to resolve and the sheer volume of the caseload makes the job that much harder. Sometimes, the temporary shelter of foster care placement continues without any clear end in sight.
Did you know that...?
- 2,144 children passed through the foster care system in Essex County in FY2012.
- Despite having only 9% of the total state population, Essex County has 16% of all state children in foster care.
- At the close of FY2012, Essex County had more foster children than the next two largest counties combined – Hudson & Camden.
- 83% of Essex CASA case children come from just two county municipalities – Newark and East Orange. An additional 7% are from Irvington, with the remaining 10% from the other 19 county municipalities.
- Most foster children come from families with incomes below the poverty line and many enter foster care with problems directly attributable to the abuse and neglect they have suffered.
- Many of our youngest children suffer from health problems which are the tragic legacy of parental substance abuse.
- Since 2005, the number of children in foster care in Essex County has steadily decreased. But, the children who remain in foster care are an increasingly older population of teens and adolescents with complex and demanding needs.
Essex CASA remains an innovator in the development of best practices to meet the changing needs of an evolving foster care caseload. Our Fostering Futures Mentoring program and Family Search & Connect are specifically designed to meet the needs of older youth who are likely to "age out” of foster care. These young people are in danger of leaving foster care without adequate independent living skills; educational, housing and employment opportunities; and solid relationships and support systems in place. Our Education and Healthcare Advocacy initiatives support successful school and health outcomes for all CASA case children.