April is National Child Abuse Prevention month as agencies around the country are raising awareness and taking steps to help keep children safe.
CASA or Court Appointed Special Advocates, is a program for volunteers that will speak for children who have been abused.
According to a 2013 report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 686,000 children in the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico were mistreated, neglected or abused.
Carolee Jones, Executive Director with Child Advocacy and Parenting Services (CAPS) says that the strain on the system is felt in Salina too, “Our courts and our protective service are really overwhelmed,” she said. Jones tells KSAL News there are currently 59 children who are being helped through programs at CAPS.
“The 28th Judicial District, which is Saline and Ottawa Counties is at least two judges short of what they need to cover our case load.”
CAPS recently got their first certified CASA volunteer into the mix and they’re are looking for more, “Within a month we’ll be starting a new training,” Jones said.
Jones described the CASA volunteer as an objective observer who serves as the eyes and ears of the court. “Speaking up for children who have been abused is rewarding and important work.”
CAPS is located at 155 N. Oakdale, Suite 300 and can be reached at 785 825 4493.