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  • FEATURED STORY

    Former foster kids speak "The Real Word"

    What's it like to grow up as a foster child after being abused, neglected or abandoned by your parents? How does it feel to then move from home to home and to face the unimaginable pain of being separated from siblings?

    Young adults who have lived through the foster care system will answer those tough questions, and many others, during a panel discussion from 6 to 7:30 p.m. April 28 at the Encinitas Community Center, 1140 Oakcrest Park Drive, Encinitas.

    "The Real Word" speakers provide first-hand accounts about life in the dependency system. The speakers, who have shared their stories across the country, describe their challenges and how they overcame them with the help of a Court-Appointed Special Advocate, or CASA volunteer. CASAs represent foster children in court, school -- or anywhere else -- and contribute greatly to the success of a foster child.

    Real Word panelists are trained by Voices for Children, a San Diego-based nonprofit whose mission is to provide CASAs to foster children to ensure that their needs are met.

    As the adoptive father of six foster children, I know the challenges that children living in foster care face every day. I am proud to support Voices for Children. Working together, we can change the trajectory of foster kids' lives.

    Voices for Children is the only organization in San Diego and Riverside counties that is authorized to recruit, train and supervise Court-Appointed Special Advocates for abused and neglected children. By 2017, Voices for Children hopes to match every child in the San Diego County foster care system with a CASA.

    The Real Word is open and free to anyone 18 or older; the event is not appropriate for children. Registration is required and can be completed online at www.speakupnow.org. 

    To learn more about The Real Word or becoming a CASA volunteer, call (858) 598-2205.