Akerman LLP has announced a six-year, $1 million commitment to the National Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association for its work in support of current and former foster youth.
The law firm's contribution will support the national association and its local CASA/guardian ad litem (GAL) programs, which train volunteers to serve abused and neglected children in foster care. A portion of the funds also will be used to endow the Akerman Academic Scholarship for Foster Youth to help college-bound foster youth pay for books and supplies, registration fees, and living expenses.
Of the more than six hundred thousand children who enter the overburdened foster care system each year, nearly a third lack a legal advocate who works to ensure that they receive the services and support they need. CASA/GAL volunteers serve as court-appointed advocates to work one-on-one with children in foster care and advocate for their best interests in courtrooms and communities.
"It takes immense commitment and far-reaching acts if we are going to achieve quality advocacy for every abused and neglected child in the foster care system," said Akerman chair and CEO Andrew Smulian. "Our people have once again come together to take this huge step toward building an enduring program that will support foster youth in the years ahead. Akerman's $1 million pledge is about improving the outcomes for at-risk youth by leveraging our firm's resources while further aligning with our clients and other community partners who share our passion for making a difference."