The Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) group of Robertson County is in need of volunteers.
The trained volunteers advocate in the courts for the stability and healthy development of abused and neglected children.
The volunteer advocates—empowered directly by the juvenile courts—offer judges the critical information they need to ensure that each child’s rights and needs are being attended to while in foster care.
Volunteers remain involved with CASA children until they are placed in loving permanent homes.
For many abused children, their CASA is the only constant, caring adult presence in their lives.
Kristen King, the director of CASA of Robertson County, spoke to the Springfield Rotary Club on Wednesday, June 6.
King said CASA members are trying to get their name out in the community in order to build a larger pool of volunteers.
Right now, CASA has nearly 15 volunteers, with more than 150 substantiated abuse or neglect cases in past years.
“Volunteers really are the backbone of our organization,” King said. “The workers with the Department of Children’s Services just don’t have enough time to devote to the children they’re assigned.”
King told of a recent case involving some children who were struggling with their educational needs.
“Our CASA advocate was able to detect some of the problems in the household and spent a lot of time working with the family,” King said. “Today, the children in that home are enrolled in public schools and are making progress.”
King said it takes a special person to desire and become an advocate with CASA.
“They also have to be very dedicated in helping these children,” King said. “Our program's goal is to have a safe, permanent, nurturing home for every child we serve.”
Unfortunately, King said there comes a point in time when some of the parents’ rights are terminated with the children.
“When that happens, our involvement ceases,” King said. “If a parents’ rights are terminated, that child or children’s lives have been placed in someone else’s hands, whether through adoption or with another family member.”
Permanency is very important for a child, according to King.
“The children who are abused or neglected need a caring adult to be their voice,” King said. “They need to have assistance with making decisions about their life that is in their best interest.”
King said CASA will be bringing back its Boo Bash Dash in October. The 5k will help raise funds for the local organization.
If you would like to volunteer or donate to the organization, please contact them on their web-site at: http://www.casaofrobertsoncounty.com