CASA needs volunteers for Greene and Clay Counties

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A Region 8 organization is asking for help from the public in serving children in Northeast Arkansas.

CASA, which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate, needs more volunteers for Greene and Clay Counties.

"You are going to be that one person that is constant in their lives. They will know, 'Where ever I go this person will always be with me,'" said Amanda Frankenberger, the advocate coordinator for Greene and Clay Counties.

Frankenberger said a total of seven volunteers serve Greene and Clay Counties.  "In 2013, there were over 160 cases in Greene County and we know most cases have multiple children in them. We served just a very small fraction of them."

Karen Cude, an insurance adjuster by day, attended a training session Friday at the Craighead County Courthouse Annex.

"I have a heart for the kids in foster care, but I don't feel like I'm in a position to adopt, to fully take on the responsibility of another child. So, this gives me the opportunity to help the kids."

The volunteer advocates are required to attend two days of training for three weeks, participate in court observation, and after being sworn-in, devote at least 10 hours a month to being the eyes and ears of the court.

"Once a volunteer is assigned a case they will meet with the children, and they will meet with everybody involved in that child's life, from the (Department of Human Services) workers, to the foster parents, to a therapist if they're in counseling, to school counselors, teachers, just everybody that has an impact in that child's life."

Frankenberger said the job of the advocate is to decide and recommend who should be allowed to keep making an impact in the life of the children.

"If the parents are cooperating with the DHS court system it could be in the child's best interest to go home," she said. "Not every situation is easy. The right thing is probably the hardest thing to do. As bad as the child may want to go home, it is not in their best interest with health and safety concerns for them to be at home."

To find out more information about CASA click here or call (870) 935-1099.

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