SPRINGFIELD, Missouri (KY3) – Special advocates appointed by the Court or CASA called it a monumental day after an influx of new volunteers were sworn in to help dozens of foster children across the Ozarks.
When KY3 first spoke to CASA in October. There were 124 children on the waiting list for their own lawyer. Executive Director Laura Farmer says that number has dropped to around 60 children.
“We live in a very generous community and when members of our community hear about a problem, they want to step in and help,” Farmer says. “The story on KY3 last time, less than a week after this story, we had 48 volunteer applications.”
Thirty-two volunteers were sworn in on Tuesday to officially become court-appointed special advocates. Farmer says it will help about 75 foster children get off the waiting list and get the support they need.
“The most volunteers we’ve sworn in at one time, so we’re really making history today,” Farmer says.
Hannah King has become one of the new special advocates appointed by the court. King says she’s both excited and nervous.
“I was done thinking of something and thinking there was a need and I just decided to take my feet in the water and find out as I went along,” King said. “I think that’s about all you can do to meet a really big need in our community. “
For King, the biggest inspiration was knowing that she could be a foster child’s support system.
“We all have the same 24 hours a day and I think it’s just about deciding what’s important to you and you can really make it work,” King said.
Cindy and Doug Dollarhide have more free time. They are semi-retired, which helped them make the decision to become CASA volunteers.
For Cindy, this is something she has wanted to do for years and it allows her to be a voice for children going through the justice system.
“These kids have been taken from their homes, whether it’s the parents’ fault or there are so many reasons it can happen,” Cindy says. “That in itself is really traumatic when you think about it. Just having someone to be a constant is huge.
Doug is also a reserve assistant in the Greene County Sheriff’s Office and says the majority of calls he answers concern children.
“You see things that you know in your heart if a person could come into the house and spend time with the child and just give them a little piece that is missing,” says Doug. “Maybe they get 99% of what they need and maybe you can be that 1%.”
Farmer expects more demand for avocados in the New Year.
“January is generally a higher month, so I expect we’ll see an influx of children in foster care,” Farmer said.
The next training course for volunteers starts on January 27th.
You will find more information on how to register here.
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