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National CASA Association Aims to Eliminate the Foster Care Stigma
Date:2/3/2009

SEATTLE, Feb. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- When Americans are asked about the kids in the foster care system, a national online Harris Poll, commissioned by the National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association, found that 83 percent of adults know little or nothing about the experiences of children in foster care, and nearly half (42 percent) know nothing at all about these children. When adults do think of children in foster care, only a minority (11 percent) cited positive impressions about these children and the foster care system that serves them. Most often, adults picture foster children as poorly treated, facing a hard life and in need of sympathy; 46 percent of knowledgeable adults believe these youth in foster care face unsuccessful futures.

However, when you talk to the youths themselves, you see an entirely different picture. A national focus group study of 50 current and former foster youth, also commissioned by the National CASA Association, found these youth see themselves as uniquely empowered by overcoming adversity, determined not to repeat the mistakes of their birth parents and optimistic about their futures.

"Yes, I have been through a lot of hell and high water, but because of that I am a stronger person. I'm still standing," said a male Dallas foster youth who participated in the study.

Despite the lack of awareness by the general population of the foster care system, 87 percent agree that foster care should be a national priority. Furthermore, 73 percent of adults believe in their potential to positively influence the lives of foster children.

"These are people we -- and our foster youth -- so desperately need," said National CASA CEO Michael Piraino. "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 that are willing to help, they just don't know how."


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SOURCE National CASA Association
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