Spring is here. These months of renewal, growth and growth are a time to reflect on your actions in helping a child in crisis. Do you help to plant the seeds for success in children who are less fortunate, or those who may be lingering in foster homes because of abuse or neglect?

A National Online Harris Poll conducted by the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (CASA) revealed that 87 per cent of Americans believe that improving foster care should become a national priority. The poll revealed that while the community considers the issue important, 83% of adults polled don’t know much or anything about children who are in foster care. The majority of adults polled agree that foster care is something they can positively impact on the lives of children in foster care, despite their ignorance.

“These are people we — and our foster youth — so desperately need,”Michael Piraino (CEO National CASA) said. “We know that when a CASA volunteer is involved, children are 95 percent less likely to re-enter the foster care system. There are people out there who are willing to help, they just don’t know how.”

They respond that foster children only want one thing when asked. “We just want someone to be there to listen. We trust people who are willing to listen to us.”

“African-American children represent 32 percent of America’s 510,000 children in foster care but only 15 percent of the general population. Not only are these children disproportionately overrepresented in foster care, but once in the foster care system, children of color tend to receive fewer services, stay in care longer and generally have worse outcomes than white children,”Ernestine S. Gray, president of the National CASA Board and Orleans Parish Judge Juvenile Court Judge in New Orleans, said.

To learn about volunteering, visit www.nationalcasa.orgYou can also call 1-888-805-8457 Call 1-888-805-8457. More than 950 CASA/GAL Offices are now in operation in 49 states. There are more than 59,000 CASA/GAL volunteers.