JACKSON COUNTY, AR (KAIT)- A local child advocacy group is looking to expand its services. The Third Judicial District's Jackson County Court Appointed Special Advocates known as CASA recently held a meeting to discuss the need for volunteers and the possibility of expanding their services.
Jackson County has three CASA volunteers and now they are looking to hire 40 more.
"It's the children that are suffering, if there is not a CASA volunteer, it' s the children that suffers because someone is not helping them get all the services that they need," said Susie Cover, outreach specialist who serves Region 8.
CASA volunteers are the eyes and ears of the judge once a child has been taken out of their home because of abuse or neglect.
"CASA volunteers help by checking to see if those things are being done, how the child is doing, they get a court order from the court which allows them to talk to everyone involved in the case," she said.
Cover said they are in dire need of volunteers in Jackson County.
"Last year, they had more than 100 kids went into the foster care system and only 22 of those cases were assisted with a CASA volunteer," she said.
A CASA volunteer generally handles one case at a time. A volunteer usually puts in about 5 to 10 hours a month, which is built around their schedule.
"That's you talking to people and making your notes so that you can report to the judge," Cover said. "In some cases, this is the only person who is a consistent figure in this child's life."
CASA is also looking to hire a Newport-based CASA Volunteer Coordinator to help with recruiting and training.
"Ten percent of the children that go into foster care are provided with a volunteer so that's not a very good number, so we want to make that number 100%," Cover said.
You must be at least 21 years old and pass a background check to become a CASA volunteer.
If you are interested in becoming a CASA volunteer, contact Susie Cover at 870-919-7235 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.