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Wanted: Volunteers to be the Voice for a Child

CASA Needs Volunteers

PLAINS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBBRE/WYOU-TV) Hundreds of children move through the foster care system in luzerne county.
    They often don't have a voice in court.
    A local organization wants to bring about positive change for more children-- but it needs your help.
    Eyewitness News reporter Crystal Cranmore has more. 


Children often have someone they can look to for nurture and protection. 
    The people in this room are interested in becoming a "voice" for children who don't. 

 

    Volunteers held an informational meeting on how to become a court appointed special advocate or "CASA" volunteer.
    They serve as the eyes and ears for the judge - making recommendations for abused and neglected children in the court system.
 
"We are currently providing advocates for 44 children, but in luzerne county, there are more than 400 children in the foster care system " Said John Aciukewicz, Luzerne County CASA executive director

    Meaning only about 10 percent of children in need are getting support.
    CASA has only 25 volunteers right now, each assigned to one case.
    While a few people showed up to the interest meeting. The key is getting people to apply.
    
 
"We are relatively new organization,  so raising awareness in the community is really important" Noted Aciukewicz

    Annie Ellis says it did not take much to get her involved with CASA. 
    As a paralegal, she's seen first hand how overwhelming court proceedings can be for children.
    She had to do the 30 hours of class training.
 
"Its everything from cultural sensitivity, diversity, how to deal with adolescents that have been traumatized."

    In the two year's she's been volunteering, she's seen some of the worst cases of abuse and is currently helping a young boy find a permanent home. 

  
"I know it'll be the happiest day for him and ill be the second happiest person when that day comes "

    The hope is to have that happy ending for all 400 plus children in the court system.
    CASA volunteer applications are due by the end of February.
     

Learn more about CASA 


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