This is the fourth in a series of monthly articles about the volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates working with Voices for Children and the Juvenile Court.

This is the fourth in a series of monthly articles about the volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates working with Voices for Children and the Juvenile Court.

I am for the child who has lived in motels, cars and shelters, the child who now stands in the entryway of a group foster home clutching a make shift suitcase. This makeshift suitcase is a garbage bag as black as the tar heroin that killed his father and filled with everything he owns. That is the child I am for and because I am, he will be half as likely to languish in foster care, and that much more likely to find a safe, permanent home.

The old saying that children are our future is without a doubt true. What I do, what you do, what we all do directly affects our forgotten children, our children in foster care. Where will these children be in five years, 10 years? Will they be sitting in a college classroom or holding a steady job with a safe place to live or will they be in prison or living in a cardboard box under a bridge or even worse … dead? We, you and I, hold their futures in the palm of our hands. We can no longer allow these children to remain invisible. They matter.

Young adults who have been through foster care want to contribute. They want to make a difference in their community but more often than not, they lack self-worth and self-confidence. When they spend most of their life feeling invisible, they tend to become invisible and feel they do not have the ability to contribute. It is up to us, you and me, to change this.

Voices for Children Court Appointed Special Advocates are appointed by the court to lift up a child’s voice and to prevent them from becoming invisible. Children in foster care can achieve anything their hearts desire if you and I give them the chance. Our advocates not only speak up for the children in court but also in the schools, daycares, with their doctors, with the case worker and in any other situation that arises involving that child.

There are thousands of children in foster care in Arkansas on any given day. If you and I choose to ignore them, the cycle will continue and the number of abused and neglected children will grow in rapid numbers in the coming years.

Make a difference one child at a time. If you would like more information on volunteering or you would like to provide financial support, please call 870-536-5922 or 870-329-7976 or e-mail VFC@pbreynoldscenter.org.

• • •

Kim Smith is executive director of Voices for Children.