VIVA for Children, Inc. was created in 2003 as a 501(c)(3) tax exempt non profit organization registered on St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands. Our mission is to operate programs which primarily benefit children in foster care as a result of having been abused or neglected.
On Oct. 1, 2004, VIVA for Children assumed operation of the already established Child Advocacy program then known as CASA of the VI that had been founded in 1995 at Legal Services of the Virgin Islands.
Child Advocates are assigned by the Court to advocate on behalf of the minor children in abuse cases. These children have done nothing wrong, committed no criminal act....they are the victims of child abuse. In order for these children to recover from the trauma of abuse, and have a happy healthy childhood restored, they need a voice in the process. That voice comes from the child advocate who monitors their case (and more importantly their life) while they are in the system waiting to see if they will be returned to their parents, remain in foster care, or be placed for adoption. We seek to insure that they do not slip through the cracks, and that their needs are identified by advocating with the government and in the court review process to secure the resources to address these needs.
VIVA for Children, Inc. continues to operate a Child Advocacy program customized to fit our local culture and its needs in the US Virgin Islands. When we are appointed as a Child Advocate our influence is limited as we are not a party to the case. We can supply information to the Court but we can not fully participate in the legal process. However, as a result of local Legislation, we are also able to be appointed as the child's Guardian ad Litem. In those cases an Attorney must represent the child but a non attorney child advocate can still assist with the field work. Being a Guardian ad Litem gives us party status which allows us to more fully participate in the legal process and and allows us to truly be a VOICE for the children we are assigned to.
Other programs that are administered by VIVA for Children are two small grant based programs which include:
I WISH grants provide small monetary grants to fulfill a foster child's wish;
I NEED grants provides small monetary grants to meet an unfulfilled need that is not the obligation of the government.
Our Homework Helper program is designed to assist foster children with academic assistance through an in house program when funding permits, and/or private tutoring. The program has included a life skills curriculum as well as homework assistance.
Our programs have been funded primarily by annual grants from the Virgin Islands Government; Law Enforcement Planning Commission (LEPC) Victim of Crime Act (VOCA); VI Legal Assistance Foundation (VILAF/IOLTA); and from private donations and annual fundraisers.
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"We are Child Advocates working on behalf of abused and neglected children."