North Iowa Reporter

North Iowa Reporter

Monday, March 30, 2020

New court advocate program will being training in pairs

Ethics

By Elle Johnson | Mar 18, 2020

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Interested candidates can now volunteer in pairs as part of a new approach the North Iowa Court Appointed Special Advocates program will have. 

The pair of volunteers will fill in an application together and attend training with each other. When the couple is assigned a case, all tasks, reports and visits are required to be completed together. 

Court appointed special advocates (CASAs) come from all different backgrounds but serve the same purpose. They are the "eyes and ears" for children in the foster car system that are involved with the court for abuse or neglect cases. Volunteers assess a child's situation by reviewing records and speaking with parents, social workers, teachers and others who are involved in the child's life. 

CASAs are looking out for the best interests of the child. They also write a report, which gives the court recommendations on how to move forward with the child's case. Even after court hearings, CASAs continue to regularly visit and monitor the child's progress. They will also attend staff meetings and court hearings for the child. 

CASAs in North Iowa cover Cerro Gordo, Floyd and Mitchell counties in the area. 

“Becoming a Co-CASA is a chance to be a team and share in changing a child’s story for the better with a spouse, friend or family member,” Crystal Engstrom, the court appointed special advocate program coordinator, said. “They can support one another in their duties while also doubling the impact with two consistent adults providing a voice for children who need it most.”

Training for the new program will begin in April 2020 for all counties in the area. 

For those interested in the program and want more information or for those looking to volunteer to serve kids in the area, call or email Engstrom for more information at 866-923-1088 or crystal.engstrom@dia.iowa.gov.

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