BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Central Oregon children in foster care now have 14 more CASA volunteers advocating for them. On Thursday, 14 new Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA volunteers, were sworn in remotely by Deschutes County Circuit Judge Bethany Flint.
The CASA volunteers represent the child’s best interest in court and in the community during their time in foster care. All volunteers complete a thorough training process that includes 40 hours of trauma-informed training, a background check, and an interview with a Judge before being sworn in as an officer of the court and assigned a child or sibling group currently in foster care in Crook, Deschutes or Jefferson counties.
Last year, 407 children spent time in foster care in Central Oregon. More than 350 of these children were served by a CASA volunteer.
The goal of CASA of Central Oregon is to recruit, train and support enough volunteers so that every child in foster care has a Personally assigned CASA volunteer.
“We know that the pandemic caused more stress on families, which put more children at risk of abuse and neglect,” said Heather Dion, executive director of CASA of Central Oregon. “When these children come into foster care, they need an advocate to speak for them. Right now, there are 73 children waiting for a CASA volunteer.”
CASA of Central Oregon trains and supports volunteers to serve children in foster care in Crook, Deschutes, and Jefferson counties. CASA volunteers are adults from many different backgrounds who are dedicated to advocating for abused and neglected children.
CASA of Central Oregon is currently accepting applications for anyone interested in becoming a volunteer advocate. The next training is scheduled online from 12:00 – 3:30 p.m. beginning Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2022. It will run weekly through March 8. Additional trainings are scheduled to begin in April and September. Visit www.CasaOfCentralOregon.org/volunteer or by contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-389-1618 for more information.