CASA Corner – Protecting those that can’t protect themselves

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When you see a child less than 2 years old with a cigarette burn to the arm, bruises that look like fingerprints on the back, burns to the cheek, broken limbs, what do you do?  Do you take action or walk away?  One thing you need to do is call the Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-25ABUSE.  Another thing you can do is get involved with CASA of Saline County.  CASA of Saline County serves children age birth to 18 in Saline County.  CASA advocates are well-trained volunteer advocates that speak up for the child in the courtroom.  CASA of Saline County conducts two training sessions per year.  One in the Spring and one in the Fall.  This is 36-hour intense training course with 6 hours of court observation.  The Spring training will begin Monday, March 5, 2018 in the lower level of First Mid Illinois Bank at 2 E Locust St. STE B1 in Harrisburg, Illinois.  You will need to pass a Federal and State background and fingerprint check, CANTS check and interview process.  After completing the course, you will be appointed by the Judge as a CASA (court appointed special advocate).  Then you will be assigned to work a case.  On average, you will spend approximately 10-20 hours on the case per month.  CASA of Saline County asks for at least an 18-month commitment.  The CASA will investigate the facts surrounding the case, consult legal counsel and community resources and make recommendations to the court as to what is in the best interest of the child or children.  The CASA will then monitor the case until a final disposition is achieved.  The goal is to reunite the child or children with the family and find them a safe, secure and permanent home as quickly as possible.  CASA advocates work with the children, biological parents, foster parents, medical professionals, counselors, teachers and legal professionals to attempt to make the best possible recommendations to the court.  “Sometimes it is possible to reunite the children with their family and sometimes it isn’t,” stated Director, Tina Irwin, of CASA of Saline County.  “CASA of Saline County would like to serve 100% of the children that come into care.  However, due to a lack of volunteers, we are only serving 43% at this time.”  At an early age, many of these children are subjected to sex, drugs and alcohol, domestic violence, an uncaring adult and trafficking.  The effects of these kind of situations on children are not something they just get over, they last a lifetime.  It is true, with counseling it gets easier to cope but these traumatic situations are life changing events.  This is just not happening somewhere else, it is happening locally!  I know some people think it isn’t any of their business, maybe you were raised that way.  However, it’s important that we get individuals to stand up for these children.  There are many children falling through the cracks, partly because of individuals turning a blind eye to the situation and partly because no one wants to get involved.

The children are the future of this nation and we should want to protect them in every way possible.  Please get involved by becoming a CASA advocate, call 618-253-3355, visit the website: www.casaofsalinecounty.org or email salinecocasa@yahoo.com.  It just takes one caring person to make all the difference in their lives, you may be that person and save the life of a child!

Register now by any of the methods above for Spring training, March 5, 2018, 6 pm in the lower level of First Mid Illinois Bank.

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