FAIRBURY, NE – Southeast Nebraska CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) recruits, trains and supports community volunteers who advocate for abused and neglected children in the Seward, Saline, Thayer, Jefferson and Gage County court system.
They currently have 23 volunteers serving 35 children in the area, but they’re always looking for more help.
SE NE CASA program coordinator Don Cook of Fairbury is organizing a training course to be held next month. The hope is that this course, taught by Cook, will prepare local volunteers to advocate for foster children in the area.
“The volunteer’s job is to look out for the best interests of the child,” Cook said. “They actually go out and visit the child at least two hours every month, and they do an independent investigation to make sure everything is being done in the best interest of the child.”
Cook says there are 61 foster children in the area right now who do not have a volunteer serving them. Once a volunteer is sworn in by their county’s judge after 30 hours of formal training, that person is appointed to a specific child’s case by a judge.
“After they do their independent investigation, they do a court report for the judge so the judge has an extra set of eyes on the situation,” Cook said.
The February training course will be conducted in Fairbury at the First Baptist Church via the Zoom Video Conferencing service.
The course will be held in either the first or second week of February. Anyone interested in signing up is encouraged to email Don@SoutheastNebraskaCasa.org. Applications will be accepted up until the day of the course.
CASA has been located in southeast Nebraska for the last 21 years, with the main office being located in Seward. There are currently 21 CASA programs serving 43 counties in Nebraska.
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