Big wheel to spin at casino night

By From page B1 | November 07, 2012

Gambling for a good cause?The Placerville Rotary Club will be hosting a Casino Night at 6-10 p.m. on Nov. 10 at the New American Legion Hall, 4561 Greenstone Rd., Placerville. Roulette, craps, black jack and poker, along with hors d’oeuvres and a lot of fun will be offered at Casino Night with all proceeds benefiting New Morning Youth & Family Services, Lilliput Children’s Services and Court Appointed Special Advocates of El Dorado County.

The three agencies benefiting from this first ever Casino Night serve children from different perspectives, yet they are often intertwined. CASA serves abused and neglected children, guiding them through the complex foster and juvenile legal system, providing a positive adult influence and a comprehensive, independent view of the child’s best interests for the court.

“Judges listen to what the advocates say and a child represented by a CASA is only half as likely to reenter the court system,” said John Adams, executive director of CASA El Dorado.

CASA El Dorado serves over 400 children a year and the money received from Casino Night will be used to recruit, train and support advocates, some of whom must travel to Sacramento to meet with their child. “We don’t have enough foster homes in El Dorado County,” said Adams. Some of the children have to go out of the county for foster care while waiting for a court decision about permanent placement.

Lillliput Child Services, another beneficiary of Casino Night, serves abused or neglected children by finding permanent homes for them. “We work with adoption, foster care with hopes of adoption and kinship care.,” said Colleen Cadaret, kinship parent liaison for Lilliput. “The majority of our placements are kinship care — relatives, primarily grandparents, who are raising grandchildren. They aren’t part of the Child Protective Service system, so they don’t receive support. These are families in crisis and we connect them with resources.”

It’s not unusual for a family to grow from one child to five overnight as relatives take in nephews, nieces, grandchildren or younger siblings. “In an emergency situation, they often don’t have enough funds, so we provide assistance, especially over the holidays, “said program supervisor Tanya Foutenot. “We also offer respite events for caregivers and networking support, so the Kinship Care Program is where we will use any funds we receive from Casino Night.”

New Morning Youth & Counseling Services Executive Director David Ashby said that children are often served by multiple agencies: “So there is cross-over between CASA and New Morning and even Lilliput. None of us work in a vacuum and we can’t fix a child’s life on our own.”

New Morning serves youth in crisis, providing both counseling services and the county’s only emergency shelter for runaway or homeless youth. “We don’t charge for youth to stay at the shelter. It’s critical that they get the support,” said Ashby. New Morning often sees children who have aged out of the foster care system at 18, and have nowhere to go.

Sixty-five percent of emancipated foster care children are homeless and 51 percent are unemployed in the first 18 months after leaving the system. They are subject to higher rates of incarceration for violence and substance abuse than other children. New Morning provides a safety net for some 1,500 children each year.

Casino Night, besides helping out three great children’s organizations, promises to be a lot of fun with a professional company bringing the gaming equipment and running the games.Tickets are available for $50 at Thompson’s Toyota, Sierra Gold Graphics, the Paint Spot, Steve Stymeist Auto Body & Frame, Mountain Democrat, Terrie Prod’hon, CPA and California Overhead Door.

Tickets include the first $50 of gaming chips and hors d’oeuvres, catered by John of Old Town Grill. There will be a no-host bar and dress is casual.

Wendy Schultz

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