Kentucky Court Appointed Special Advocates (KY CASA) announced the launch of a statewide campaign aimed at attracting volunteers to close the gap between abused and neglected children in need of an advocate to represent their best interests with the goal of securing a safe, permanent home. It is estimated that more than 21,000 vulnerable children in Kentucky could benefit from a CASA volunteer each year as they seek a permanent solution while navigating the juvenile court system.
“We need more Kentuckians to be for the child and help serve the tens of thousands of Kentucky children who need an advocate.” said Andrea Bruns, Executive Director of the Kentucky CASA Network. “CASA Volunteers make a lasting difference in the lives of the children they serve, making CASA volunteering one of the most rewarding and meaningful journeys one can take as a volunteer.”
Across Kentucky, 831 KY CASA Volunteers currently serve 2,831 children. After extensive training and with support from the local CASA program, the CASA Volunteer is appointed by the juvenile court and has the authority to talk to all people on behalf of the child to submit a comprehensive, objective report to the court making best interest recommendations. This includes area volunteers from Daviess and Ohio Counties, which is led by Executive Director Rosemary Conder, the CASA of Ohio Valley staff and Board of Directors. To reach 21,000 additional children, the number of volunteers in the state will need to grow exponentially – a goal KY CASA understands will take time.
“Just as CASA’s national mantra is: I am for the child, our campaign asks the people of Kentucky to be for the child,” added Bruns. “The need to help abused and neglected children across the state is not only great, but urgent. We hope that as more people learn about this opportunity, they will be inspired to stand up and be for Kentucky’s most vulnerable.”
Messaging for the Be For The Child Volunteer Recruitment Campaign will be integrated and highlighted in various CASA statewide communications throughout the year. The campaign includes a website: BeForTheChildKY.org and will highlight seven distinct volunteers throughout the state through social media advertising. These special highlighted volunteers include:
Terri Coke, CASA Volunteer, Daviess County
Suzanne Churchwell, CASA Volunteer, McCracken County
Richard Vietez, CASA Volunteer, McCracken County
Pam Kaur, CASA Volunteer, Fayette County
Ben Haydon, CASA Volunteer, Fayette County
Eileen Donahue, CASA Volunteer, Boone County
Tom Pike, CASA Volunteer, Oldham County
Kerri Scisney, CASA Volunteer, Hopkins County
“I was an abused child growing up, and I remember wishing that somebody would either rescue me or just tell me that things would eventually be okay,” said CASA Volunteer Pam Kaur. “The thought of being a pillar of support to these innocent children truly appealed to me, for through my experiences I have learned that having someone in your corner can truly be life-changing.”
CASA Volunteers come from all walks of life and exhibit intelligence, heart and character. No prior experience is expected or necessary to become a volunteer. All the tools needed to be a successful advocate will be provided in the CASA Volunteer training program.
“If you are interested in becoming a CASA Volunteer, CASA of Ohio Valley will provide you the training and the tools necessary,” added Rosemary Conder. “By being for the child during a traumatic time in his or her life, a CASA can make a positive impact on the child both now and in the future – which in turn helps our community prosper. We encourage those looking to make a real difference in the life of a child to contact our office at 270-683-2138, our website: www.CASAov.org or on Facebook at CASA of Ohio Valley or visit BeForTheChildKY.org to sign up or request more information.”