Volunteers needed to help foster children
PARAGOULD, Ark. (KAIT) - A local nonprofit organization is only able to serve about 60% of children in foster care due to a lack of volunteers.
The Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children of Northeast Arkansas (NEA CASA) investigates the lives of foster children and does anything and everything to fill the gaps in their lives.
NEA CASA relies heavily on volunteers, but due to an increase in children in the foster care system, they are experiencing a need for more volunteers.
Supervisor Jeremy Irvin said the goal is to get these children back with parents, and volunteers help with that.
“They’ll be getting school records, medical records, developing a relationship with the child to kind of learn more about what they need, and then passing all that information to everybody involved,” he said.
Irvin said after volunteers complete a 2-week training period, they will be assigned a case. The maximum number of cases a volunteer could work on at a time is two, which makes it easier to form a close relationship with the child.
“DHS caseworkers may have 30 to 40 cases, and some of the attorneys involved have up to 70 cases at a time,” Irvin said.
He said once a case is assigned, most of the volunteer’s work is done online or over the phone, but visiting the child twice a month is expected.
“Because it’s really hard to understand what a child needs without getting to know them,” Irvin said.
Volunteers will never be alone with their assigned child. Somebody who takes responsibility will always be present when a volunteer is visiting, whether that be a DHS caseworker, a teacher, or the child’s foster parents.
Those interested in helping foster children in NEA can fill out an application here.
For more information visit NEACASA.org or call Jeremy Irvin at 870-335-8891.
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