|Voices for Children Co-Founder Receives Congressional Award|
|Jennifer Morrissey, Communications & Marketing, Voices for ChildrenPhone: (858) 598-2213, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Elle Hogan, Director of External Relations, Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute
KATHRYN ASHWORTH, CO-FOUNDER OF VOICES FOR CHILDREN,
HONORED BY CONGRESSMAN BOB FILNER (CA-51)
(September 4, 2012) San Diego, CA – Congressman Bob Filner (CA-51) has selected Kathryn Ashworth, Esq., as a 2012 Angels in AdoptionTM awardee for her outstanding advocacy of foster care issues over the past three decades since she co-founded Voices for Children. The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI), which orchestrates the Angels in AdoptionTM program, will honor Ms. Ashworth, along with more than 150 other Angels, at an awards ceremony and gala event in Washington, DC, on September 12, 2012.
Sharon M. Lawrence, Esq., President/CEO of Voices for Children (VFC), remarked on the selection: “We are very proud that Congressman Filner chose Kathryn Ashworth for this wonderful award. She has spent the better part of the last 32 years fighting for improvements in the foster care system so that more abused, neglected children can find their own ‘forever families.’ Kathryn is our longest-tenured CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate), and over these years, has transformed the lives of hundreds of young people. For her passionate commitment to justice and well-being for foster children, she exemplifies the meaning of being an Angel in Adoption.”
Kathryn Ashworth is being honored for her 32 years of work with Voices for Children. The agency began in 1980 when Kathryn, then a University of San Diego law student, and a social worker, the late Elizabeth Brainerd Bacon, set up a desk in the hallway of Juvenile Court. They recruited friends and Junior League members to review the files of children under the court’s jurisdiction. The two women were committed to finding ways to improve foster care and help judges make better decisions on behalf of foster children. In 1977, a group in Seattle had developed a new volunteer advocate model called “Court Appointed Special Advocates” (abbreviated to “CASAs”) for juvenile court. Kathryn and Elizabeth adopted this format, which in San Diego became Voices for Children. In 1983, Kathryn graduated with the first CASA training class at VFC and today, retired from her law practice (Ashworth Blanchet Christenson & Kalemkiarian), she continues to volunteer as a CASA.
Over the past 32 years, VFC has become one of the largest and best managed of nearly 1,000 CASA organizations nationwide, and has earned a reputation as one of San Diego’s most outstanding human services agencies. VFC provides exceptional service to children, juvenile court, and the entire foster care system by making sure qualified, compassionate adults are available to stand by and speak up for individual foster children. Currently there are more than 800 remarkable volunteers from every walk of life and from all over San Diego County who serve as CASAs and work on the front lines for children entangled in the child welfare system. During the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2012, VFC provided volunteer CASAs to more than 1,300 abused and abandoned boys and girls in San Diego, an 18% increase over the previous year. In addition, VFC assessed the case files of every one of the 5,600 children who spent time in San Diego foster care this year.
The Angels in AdoptionTM program is CCAI’s signature public awareness campaign and provides an opportunity for all members of the U.S. Congress to honor the good work of their constituents who have enriched the lives of foster children and orphans in the United States and abroad.
The Angels in Adoption program is unlike any other program in the Nation’s Capital. Because of it, over 1,800 “Angels” have come to share with Washington their adoption experiences, and left with a renewed excitement that all of adoption makes possible, said Kathleen Strottman, Executive Director of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. “I learned one simple lesson from my time on the hill: knowledge is power. Angels in Adoption is meant to give members of Congress the knowledge they need to use the power they have toward making the dream of a family a reality for every child.”
CCAI is a 501c3 nonpartisan organization dedicated to raising awareness about the tens of thousands of orphans and foster children in the United States, and the millions of orphans around the world – all in need of permanent, safe, and loving homes through adoption. CCAI’s goal is the elimination of the barriers that hinder these children from realizing their basic right of a family. CCAI was created in 2001 by the active co-chairs of the bicameral, bipartisan Congressional Coalition on Adoption (CCA) to more effectively raise Congressional and public awareness about adoption. CCAI does not receive any government funding and relies on the generous support of foundations, corporations and individuals to accomplish its mission.
For more information about CCAI, visit www.angelsinadoption.org.
For more information about Voices for Children, visit www.speakupnow.org or call (858) 598-2213.
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