Volunteers to assist abused and
neglected children are needed in Brown, Cass and Schuyler counties.
The Advocacy Network for Children is in
need Court Appointed Special Advocates, or C.A.S.A. Volunteers to
represent abused and neglected children in the court systems of
Brown, Cass and Schuyler counties.
Danielle Buss serves as the C.A.S.A.
Manager for the seven county area in the Advocacy Network, and says
that the program is new to Brown, Cass and Schuyler counties.
“We just got our program up and
running there so we are looking for volunteers in those counties.
Our volunteers go through a training and then after the training and
background check they receive a case. The case is a child or family
group who, the child or children have been abused or neglected, and
it is no fault of their own that they are in the system. The
volunteers will go and see the children at their foster home, or with
their biological parents, or at school and be in as much contact with
everyone who is in the child’s life as possible in order to write a
court report to the judge.”
C.A.S.A. Volunteers are appointed by a
judge to speak on the behalf of the children in these court cases.
Buss says that these volunteers can be vital in making sure the judge
has all of the information to determine what is in the best interest
of the child in these cases.
“the best way that we can explain
it is that the volunteers are kind of the eyes and the ears for the
judge and the attorneys. The state’s attorney and the judge cannot
go out to see the kids and find out what is going on, they have to
make decisions based off of our report and the case worker’s report.
So having two reports instead of one is helpful for them and it gives
them more information to be able to make a decision for the child.”
Anyone interested in finding out more
information on becoming a trained C.A.S.A. Volunteer from the three
county area can attend one of two informational meetings scheduled
for Wednesday, February 26th at 12:15 pm in Mt. Sterling
at Brews, located at 113 West Main Street, or in Beardstown on
Wednesday, March 4th at 12:15 pm, at the the Cass county
CASA office at 301 West 4th Street. Each meeting will
last about 30 minutes.
Buss says that the need for volunteers
is great in all seven counties they serve, but especially as they
move the program into this new area.
“In all of these counties we are
in a big need of volunteers, there are more kids in the foster care
system now than there ever has been. So anyone who loves kids and
wants to learn more, they can give us a call at our office and we
would be more than happy to give them more information.
We have not had a training yet in
Brown, Cass or Schuyler counties since they are so new to the
program, so we really need volunteers and again, anyone who could be
interested, we would love to hear from them.”
An accelerated training for volunteers
has been set for Friday, March 20th and Saturday March
21st at the office in Beardstown and will conclude with
court observation and a swearing in of volunteers at a later date and
time that will be determined later.
For more information about the program
or to volunteer to become an advocate, contact the Advocacy Network
for Children at 217-223-2272, or area CASA coordinator Karolina
Anton, at 217-617-6058, or on the web at w