by Kelly Warren, Program Manager
National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated annually from September 15th to October 15th by recognizing the history, culture, and contributions of Hispanic/Latino Americans. Hispanic Heritage Week was commemorated in 1968 by President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded to a full month in 1988. We honor the contributions of Hispanic/Latino Americans to our country and culture in a variety of ways. At CASA of Lane County, we reflect on the needs of Hispanic/Latino children living in foster care in our community.
In spite of 8.9% of the Lane County population identifying as Hispanic/Latino, only 4% of CASA volunteers identify this way. The gap between Hispanic/Latino volunteers and children is among the largest within the demographics we serve. Closing this gap is made more vital because of the fact that Hispanic/Latino children are over-represented in the child welfare system (13% of Lane County cases) when compared to the percentage of the Lane County’s general population (8.9%).
CASA of Lane County’s goal is to close this gap to ensure our volunteer numbers reflect our local population so that we can better represent the children currently in the child welfare system.
Children with CASA volunteers are more likely to receive therapy, health care, access to education, and do better in school; they are less likely to be moved from one placement to another or remain in long-term foster care.
Volunteering with CASA is a great way to make a difference in the lives of our community’s children. CASA volunteers come from every walk of life and share a commitment to improving children’s lives, a willingness to learn, and an open mind. No special education, experience or background is needed.