A court advocacy program for children is seeking volunteers in Morgan and Pike County.
The Court Appointed Special Advocate, or CASA program of Morgan and Pike County will be holding informational meetings and volunteer training Mondays and Wednesdays 5:30-8:30 pm from Oct.19-Nov. 11.
CASA Manager Danielle Buss says that volunteers help to advocate on children’s behalf in the local court system while also becoming a reliable figure to children: “A CASA volunteer is a person who speaks on behalf of abused and neglected children in the court system. Volunteers have to go through a 30-hour training, background checks, and all of that good stuff. Then, once that gets completed, the local Circuit Judge will swear them in and they will receive a case to work alongside case workers, attorneys, and speak on behalf of the child or children in that particular case. They are making assessments, recommendations, stating concerns, and writing court reports so that the judge and attorneys can kind of know what is going on with the case and what should go on or not go on with the child. The volunteer is seeing the child or children in their biological home, foster home, daycare, school, after school activities throughout three 6-month time frames. They are able to get to know this child and advocate for this child to truly let the court know who this child is and what their needs are or what would be in their best interest.”
Buss says the number of children in the court system in the area continues to rise but the number of volunteers has gone down. Buss says currently they need anywhere from 20-30 advocates because there are kids currently without a CASA sponsor.
Buss says to call her as soon as possible if you’d like to volunteer: “Interested individuals can give me a call at 217-223-2272, and I can give them their information, an application, and send them to the right coordinator. We have two different coordinators – one for Morgan and one for Pike. I would be more than happy to give them the information they need and send them on to the right coordinator.”
Potential volunteers can also visit the Morgan County CASA Office at 800 W. State St., Suite 2 in Jacksonville.