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Every child deserves to have someone on his or her side

Staff Report • Sep 19, 2013 at 9:42 AM

Court Appointed Special Advocates of Northeast Tennessee is looking for more volunteers to help it carry out a very important mission. CASA volunteers are appointed by local judges to help them determine the best outcome for a child.More than 3 million children a year are reported abused or neglected in the United States. These are good children who, through no fault of their own, often become trapped in an already burdened judicial system that is swamped by a heavy caseload.Last year, CASA of Northeast Tennessee served more than 400 children in Washington, Greene and Unicoi counties. There are now more than 200 children in those three counties who need a CASA volunteer.The mission of CASA volunteers is to see that every neglected child is placed in a safe and stable home. It is a very important task, and one that well-trained CASA volunteers have been performing locally since 1985.It’s because of the work they do that many children have gone from abuse and neglect to safe and nurturing homes. As we’ve said in this space many times before, case workers from the state Department of Children’s Services are often so buried under cases that they find themselves unable to devote the kind of time they would like to the children they serve.CASA would like to do more, but it needs help from the community it serves. The organization is looking for community leaders to serve as members of its board of directors. Also, CASA needs more volunteers to help act as case workers.The job of CASA volunteers is to investigate the child’s home environment and talk to neighbors and school officials whenever possible. And remember, these CASA volunteers are ordinary people like you from a variety of backgrounds.CASA will hold an informational session on how you can help Monday from 6-7 p.m. at the Hutson & Howell Mediation Office at 132 Boone St., Jonesborough. For more information on CASA, call 461-3500 or visit www.casanetn.org.

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