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Contact: Millie Gonzalez
E-mail: mgonzale@kean.edu

Child Advocacy Resource Association Celebrates 10th Anniversary
Joe Torres, news anchor for WABC-TV, foster families, among special guests

UNION, NJ - The Child Advocacy Resource Association (C.A.R.A.S), in partnership with the New Jersey Foster and Adoptive Family Services, celebrated its 10th anniversary with a reception on October 29 at Kean University. Joe Torres, news reporter, anchor and host of "Tiempo" for WABC-TV, served as the evening’s master of ceremony.

"The event was a celebration of the successes that C.A.R.A.S has achieved, and an acknowledgement of the commitment of our Hispanic foster parents who perform the ultimate act of compassion by opening their homes to children," said Victoria Cerda, executive director of C.A.R.A.S. "It is in these homes that many foster children learn to dream high and to experience what it feels to be loved and protected - often for the very first time." Founding member and first director of C.A.R.A.S, Dr. Doris Capello, was also honored with an award at the event.

Currently, there are more than 8,600 children in foster homes in New Jersey, according to the Department of Children and Families; of those, approximately 1,300 are Latino. Since its inception in 1999, C.A.R.A.S. has recruited more than 1,000 foster families, placed more than 130 children in foster homes and has had two successful adoptions, with 11 more in the process.

Nearly 200 foster families, adopted children and other invited guests participated in the celebration. Among those in attendance was Christine Carter-Davis, who shared her remarkable testimony about life in the foster-care system of New Jersey. Today, Carter-Davis is the founder and CEO of Against All Odds, a nonprofit organization providing intensified life skills training, transitional living shelter and supplemental educational services to at-risk youth and underserved families. Additionally, Dr. Ruth Zambrana, assistant professor at the University of Maryland, discussed education, human services and public health as it relates to Latino women, children and youth.

Housed at Kean University, the Child Advocacy Resource Association is a child welfare organization whose mission is to recruit, train and retain Hispanic foster and adoptive parents in Hudson, Essex and Union counties who reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of children in New Jersey. The primary goal of C.A.R.A.S is to significantly expand the pool of Hispanic foster families in the state through policy advocacy, program initiatives, partnership building, public awareness and education. For more information, to volunteer, or to become a foster parent, please call C.A.R.A.S. at (908) 737-0560.