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Child advocate group seeking volunteers

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NASHVILLE – An organization that helps those children with what could be the most challenging issues in our society is looking for volunteers in this area.
The Texarkana Children’s Advocacy Center, an extension of Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA), established a satelite office in Nashville a little less than a year ago, and now need several people to volunteer in their work, according to Leigh Davis, herself a volunteer with the group.
In informational packets provided by the group, they explain that the CASA program was engendered by Judge David Soukup of Seattle more than 30 years ago in order to better provide for children whose lives are touched by the legal system. The Texarkana program was started in 1990 under the direction of Judge Jack Carter.
The advocacy center serves six counties in Arkansas – Miller, Little River, Lafayette, Hempstead, Nevada and Howard Counties – as well as two counties in Texas, with around 80 volunteers at this time, Davis explained, going on to say that Howard County only numbers four volunteers for the group thusfar.
CASA volunteers are appointed by family court judges to help children who are removed from their homes as a result of abuse or are placed in foster care, and are to speak for the best interests of the child according to the information the group provides. They carry out their work through a number of actions, from providing forensic interviewers to learn from child the greatest amount of reliable information about their case, to shepherding the child through mental health therapy and medical treatment, which can be quite difficult even for adults.
“Sometimes the CASA volunteer is the only consistent person in their lives when going through the courts system,” Davis stated.
The group requires volunteers attend three training sessions with them, as well as going through further training themselves at home, before going on to be sworn as an officer of the court. All training sessions are currently conducted in Texarkana, but the group hopes that enough interest can be generated to allow for a training session in Nashville.
Those interested should contact the Texarkana Children’s Advocacy Center by calling 903-792-1030 or by visiting casatexarkana.org.

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