Lincoln, Nebraska – October 21, 2020 – Child abuse and neglect are on the rise. Children too often pay a heavy price when families are under increased financial and emotional stress. This spring and summer children were out of the public eye. They were not at schools or daycare, or in other locations where caring individuals would spot signs of abuse.
Now that children are back in school, there has been a surge in the number of child abuse and neglect cases in the courts. CASA programs across Nebraska are working hard to ensure that child abuse and neglect do not go unnoticed.
CASA or Court Appointed Special Advocates are community members who volunteer to advocate for children in Foster Care. They work with children who have a court case due to alleged abuse or neglect by their caregivers. CASA volunteer advocates meet with children in person at least monthly and provide information to judges about each child.
When Covid-19 numbers spike, meeting in person with these children can be difficult and sometimes impossible. It is harder for the court system to gauge what is going on in children’s lives. This is where trained CASA volunteers help.
Currently, trained CASA volunteers are working with local program staff to find creative ways to continue to meet with children individually. Like video conference.
Corrie Kielty, Nebraska CASA Executive Director, states, “Our volunteers will make a real difference in children’s lives. We need 838 more CASA volunteers now to meet our goal of serving every child in the system. We are encouraging all community members to join with us. Volunteer, spread the word and ensure children are safe during this time of crisis.”
CASA Volunteers Are Needed Now More than Ever
How can you make a difference?
Three ways you can make a difference.
- Pay attention: be the eyes and ears that may save a child’s life.
- Volunteer: be the CASA volunteer voice of a child who cannot speak for themselves in court.
- Contribute to CASA: financial support pays for recruiting and training volunteers who can be the voice of abused or neglected children.
Nebraska CASA needs 843 more volunteers to meet the number of cases projected to be in our court system by the end of 2021. This will ensure that every child in our court system has a volunteer advocate. There is currently new volunteer training being offered near you. Visit the website at casaforthekids.org to help our local children no longer fear because the child will have you during this pandemic and surge of child abuse cases.
Under Nebraska State Statute 28-711, every resident of Nebraska shall report child abuse. You can make this report by contacting the Nebraska Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-652-1999 or in the event of an emergency call 911.