REDDING, Conn. – A bill co-sponsored by state Rep John Shaban (R-135) has been signed into law that establishes a court-appointed special advocate program to provide assistance in neglect, abuse, custody, guardianship or family with service needs cases in juvenile court.
The law provides statutory recognition of court-appointed special advocate volunteers to work with the state’s most vulnerable children in the child protection system. Last year, more than 8,000 Connecticut children were victims of maltreatment and 4,000-plus were in foster care, Shaban's office said in a press release. Currently, just 5 percent of these children receive advocacy support from volunteers – 30 percent less than in surrounding states, the press release said.
“I have been working on enhancing our CASA program for years, and am happy with our progress to date," said Shaban, who represents Easton, Redding and Weston. "Under this bill, the program is entirely supported and funded by the community, removing the uncertainty caused by the continued erosion of state finances and state funding. This legislation will ensure that the child’s best interests remain the top priority, and prevent interference with their counsel or guardian ad litem."
The law takes effect Oct. 1. For more information, please visit www.ctchildadvocates.org.