As supervisors heard at their May 20 board meeting, Barron County is among 18 counties in the state interested in joining 13 other counties that already have Court Appointed Special Advocates.
Informational packets are available at the County Clerk’s Office at the Barron County Government Center for volunteers willing to “lift up a child’s voice, a child’s life.”
Those interested in becoming a child advocate go through 30 hours of training before assigned to a child. Their responsibilities are fourfold: To get to know their CASA child, offer an inner circle of support and speak on behalf of the child and be a friend of the court for the duration of their assigned child’s time in the court system.
Who are these children? According to the information in the packet, CASA volunteer assignments are home placement cases where an abused or neglected child has been removed for protection. They act as a second set of eyes, ensuring the children are safe and work with social workers in court cases for the child’s best interests.
Those children who have such an advocate have better conduct in school and are more likely to pass their classes, spend less time in foster care and are more likely to have a plan for permanency.
The 975 children with advocates in 2018 were from Brown, Dane, Rock, Marinette, Manitowoc and Columbia counties, the City of Milwaukee, Fox Cities and the La Crosse area. In April 2018, Gov. Scott Walker signed Bill 786 into law that provided CASA funding to expand across the state, reaching more children. Now all that is needed are volunteers to ensure that those children who lose their families don’t also lose their rights and hope for a better future.
Editorials are the views of the newspaper as determined by The Chronotype’s editorial board. All editorials are written by one or more members of the board, which consists of Bob Dorrance, Ruth Erickson, Leiah Fundell and Ryan Urban.