GREENE COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - Court Appointed Special Advocates helped a record-breaking number of children in Greene County in 2016.
CASA Advocate Coordinator for Greene and Clay counties, Amanda Frankenberger, said they work they've done is great, but this is just the beginning.
Last year in Greene County, they were able to serve over 100 children in foster care.
"That sounds like a lot. But when you hear we have around 300 children in foster care, you know we're barely scratching the surface. But we were able to set a record number of how many children we were able to provide voices for in the court system," Frankenberger said.
Frankenberger said the more people they have, the more children get help.
"We have a new staff person," Frankenberger said. "Really with our program and under new management, we have really been able to expand our efforts and our recruiting efforts. With that turns more volunteers. And then more volunteers we can get the more children we're able to serve in our area."
Frankenberger said they now have two full-time people working in their Greene County office.
She said the more volunteers they get, the more staff they can hire.
"Our goal is for every child," Frankenberger said. "That comes through the court system to have a volunteer speaking on their behalf. Each case may range from one child to eight children. But every case that comes through the court system, we want a CASA volunteer on that court case."
Frankenberger said the role CASA plays is vital to a child who finds themselves trying to maneuver in the court system.
"CASA's role is so important in the court system," Frankenberger said. "It's the volunteers. We're an unbiased opinion. We're an unbiased voice in the court. And our main mission is to make sure that child is getting everything that they need. This can be anything from making sure they're in counseling, to make sure if they need therapy they're getting it. Something as simple as school clothes or a cap and gown or maybe talking to kids about resources that are available to them after they turn 18."
The good news didn't stop with the number of children with representatives.
Frankenberger was recently asked to present at the National Convention in Seattle.
"I'm super excited," Frankenberger said. "I am the second ever from Arkansas to be chosen to present at our National Convention. I presented at state in October. My topic is how to manage volunteer risks. Basically, what that is, we go through step by step with other volunteer supervisors and other CASA staff policies and procedures that affect our organization and how we can protect our volunteers. This is why we have confidentiality statements. This is also how we protect our organization's name in the community. And how we identify potential risks that can come to your organization. And we cover fundraising and we cover confidentiality."
Frankenberger said they are always in desperate need of volunteers.
If you are interested in helping, log onto their website or call the Paragould office at (870) 240-8955.
You can also call the Jonesboro office at (870) 935-1099.
Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.