New Mexico Kids Matter Programs
A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is a trained and committed adult who ensures that each child’s individual needs remain a priority in an over-burdened child welfare system. They get to know the child while also gathering information from the child’s family, teachers, doctors, caregivers, and anyone else involved in the child’s life in order to make independent and informed recommendations to help the judge decide what’s best for the child.
If you are looking for a meaningful and enriching volunteer opportunity in Bernalillo County and want to do something about child abuse, becoming a CASA is right for you. There are over 700 children in our county that still need an advocate.
We Need Your Help
The Successful Transitions and Adulthood Readiness (STAR) Program at New Mexico Kids Matter aims to provide detailed advocacy to youth 12 and older. CASA volunteers work with these youth to help navigate the transitions that arise as the young person approaches aging out of foster care.
Our youth face a variety of challenges and a great amount of instability. Youth move placements, move schools, the professionals on their case team change frequently, but a CASA is there to be consistent and provide support.
“I feel like nobody listens to me and cares about what I want, so I’m glad that you do.”
— A Youth to their CASA volunteer
It takes 10-15 hours a month to be a CASA volunteer and New Mexico Kids Matter provides all the training and support you need to be a fierce advocate for youth in foster care.
Become a CASA volunteer today:
What We Do:
CASAs help children that are in foster care. CASA members are the “eyes and ears” of the court system and it’s their responsibility to make sure these children are well taken care of.
What you will do as a YA:
- YA’s will attend CASA functions as a youth representative of CASA. This means you will meet and greet people, help point them in the right direction, and assist with the set up/take down of activities. You may also be asked to help with an art project or a fundraiser!
- YA’s will also attend meetings. This is where we will brainstorm ideas for future events and fundraisers. The meetings may be physical or online, but we will work as a team to create objectives, accomplish tasks, and get to really know one another.
- YA’s will be required to attend a minimum of two meetings and two events every 12 months.
- YA’s will sign a pledge to represent CASA to the best of their ability in support of foster children.
What you will receive for volunteering as a YA:
- A YA certificate of participation
- A YA t-shirt
- Exposure to local community events
- Participation in planning and executing fundraisers/events
- Knowledge that you are helping to make a difference in the lives of foster children
- Experience with like-minded peers, as future youth leaders
If you are interested in becoming a part of a dynamic and inspiring group of young adults who are determined to make a difference in their local community, please send a resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The NM Kids Matter Inc. Infant and Toddler Coordinator
The NM Kids Matter Inc. Infant and Toddler Coordinator is an early childhood specialist positioned in the organization as part of the COMPASS program. This program engages community members and families in the special developmental goals and needs of children affected by abuse; the Infant and Toddler Coordinator creates an extra focus on the needs of the youngest children in the child welfare system. The program provides specific training for volunteer CASAs who advocate for the children and families, as well as parenting classes for caregivers to develop nurturing skills, and community building with early childhood service providers in Bernalillo county.
All of us at New Mexico Kids Matter believe that every child deserves to be raised in a home surrounded by their own families, cultures, and traditions. At times, circumstances make staying or returning home unsafe for some children. Our Family Finding Department, in collaboration with Bernalillo County Child, Youth, and Family (CYFD), work together in the search and discovery of unknown or estranged relatives, giving a young person within the foster care system a greater chance of being raised with a safe and loving family member.
CASA is not your typical volunteer role.
That’s okay. We're not looking for typical volunteers.