An organization that stands up for abused and neglected children in court is working extra hard to help during the pandemic.
Court appointed special advocates said there are hundreds more kids in the foster system than last year. Alongside the increase, the pandemic has made it difficult for abused and neglected children, and their advocates, to navigate meetings and court changes.
CASA volunteers have learned how to adjust as they continue to help kids in Green Country.
CASA's Development Manager Brittany McCulloch said COVID-19 has created a whirlwind of uncertainty for children already burdened by abuse and neglect.
Some court cases have been postponed or changed, in-person school has been inconsistent, and the looming threat of a virus keeps children isolated.
"The consistency that CASA volunteers bring to the case is something that these children oftentimes aren't getting somewhere else," McCulloch said. "So even during COVID it's been so important for our kiddos. While they're missing their friends at school and their teachers and their sports it's been so important for them to keep that one person who does stay with them consistently.”
For the most part court proceedings have continued regular, but virtual, hearings. McCulloch said that presents its own challenges, but it's good that kids are still moving through and not getting stuck in the system.
CASA has made it a major goal to give kids a sense of normalcy outside the courtroom, too.
"We're utilizing a lot of video conferencing. Our volunteers have been really creative which has been a lot of fun,” McCulloch said. “They're doing nature walks with their kiddos, they're playing games over Facetime.”
With hundreds more kids in the court and foster system than last year, CASA needs more volunteers. Click the link here to find out how to help.