The Children’s Advocacy Alliance, a Conway-based nonprofit that helps provide a voice for justice for abused and neglected children in the community, seeks and recruits volunteers from the public to help serve as a special advocate program appointed by the Central Court of Arkansas (CASA).
These volunteers would serve as advocates for foster children in four counties: Faulkner, Conway, Van Buren and Searcy.
“CASA volunteers come from all backgrounds, educational backgrounds and professional careers,” said CASA Advocate Engagement Specialist Crystal Dendy. “They are community members specially trained and appointed by a judge to defend children involved in legal proceedings related to abuse or neglect.”
CASA volunteers are sometimes the only bond foster children can maintain during their stay in foster care until they can find a safe, permanent home.
“Even if a child is removed from their school, friends or family, they still remain connected to at least one person – their CASA,” Dandy said.
CASA volunteers in central Arkansas have advocated for over 150 foster children right here in our community in the past year alone.
“Our goal is to have a pro bono attorney for every foster child in our service area,” said CASA Advocate Supervisor Jasmin Joseph. “For that to happen, we need about 30 more volunteers this year.”
CASA volunteers should be able to commit to their case approximately 10-15 hours per month for a full year.
“Our volunteer advocates have a significant impact on the lives of children in our community,” said CASA Advocate Supervisor Carrie Curtis. “Every child deserves to have someone in their corner when times get tough.”
Volunteers must be at least 21 years old, have good oral and written communication skills, be objective, be able to interact with people from diverse educational and ethnic backgrounds, and be able to pass national criminal background checks and a history of child abuse. Most importantly, applicants must be committed to helping children.
Training for new volunteers begins Tuesday, February 8, and all training sessions will be held virtually.
Those interested in volunteering should contact Crystal Dendy at [email protected] or 501-920-4797 to get started.