In 2016, over 300 children in Jefferson, Mahaska and Wapello counties were in foster care placement, and many more were at risk in their homes. Only a small number of those children had the benefit of a Court Appointed Special Advocate.
Specifically, Ottumwa area businesses and organizations are asked to support efforts to recruit and engage new CASA volunteers in Ottumwa.
Advocates and volunteers with CASA are ordinary people who have decided to volunteer their time and talents to ensure children who are already victims of abuse or neglect, are not further impacted by the system intended to protect them. After receiving extensive pre-service training, the advocate receives an order from the court to represent a child in court proceedings and allows the advocate access to information. The advocate meets with their assigned child or sibling group monthly and gathers information from everyone involved with that child such as caregivers, therapists, teachers and other providers. Advocates prepare a Report to the Court for each hearing involving the child.
This Thursday in Ottumwa, Mayor Tom Lazio alone with Associate Juvenile Judge William S. Owens, and Aprile Goodman – Court Appointed Special Advocate Coordinator. Along with other CASA volunteers or members, Kayla Eckerman, Deb Pumphrey, and Jim Hennessey, will welcome all to the 20th Anniversary of the Court Appointed Special Advocate program in Ottumwa. This event is being held at The Hub in Ottumwa on November 16th, starting at 4:30 PM.
CASA Advocates serve as a consistent presence in the life of their assigned child and remain assigned to the case until successful case closure. For more information or an application to apply to be a CASA Advocate, visit the Iowa Child Advocacy Board.