McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

December 12, 2012

CASA needs volunteers

Hundreds of children in the foster care system are waiting for volunteers to represent them in court

By Jeanne LeFlore
Staff Writer

McALESTER — The children are waiting.

Arron Williams director of an organization that fights for the rights of neglected and abused children said that hundreds of children in the foster care system are waiting for volunteers to represent them in court.

The program is called Court Appointed Special Advocates for children organizes volunteers to be appointed by judges to watch over and advocate for abused and neglected children.

“Volunteering some of your time can change a child's life,” Williams said.

“Nobody— I mean nobody— longs for a safe and loving family more than a child in foster care.”

 He said CASA volunteers are empowered by the courts to help make this dream a reality.

“The volunteer will be the one consistent adult in these children’s lives, vigilantly fighting for and protecting their fundamental right to be treated with the dignity and respect every child deserves.”

He said as a volunteer “you will not only bring positive change to the lives of these vulnerable children, but also their children and generations to come. And in doing so, you will enrich your life as well.”

He said this year CASA would like to make an appeal to the churches in Pittsburg and McIntosh counties. “Please take stand and join us in lifting up the voices of abused and neglected children voices in a Juvenile Deprived Court,” Williams.

He said the Department of Human Services  has many cases that could use  CASA support, but a lack of volunteers is keeping these children from being heard.

“There is no need for any foster child to linger in the system for years,” Williams said. “It is totally unacceptable.”

For more information on becoming a voluteer contact Williams at 918-426-4807.

To report suspected child abuse call 800 522-3511.

Contact Jeanne LeFlore at jleflore@mcalesternews.com.

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