Gateway CASA Seeks Advocates for Lawrence; Randolph Co.
One local organization is actively looking for volunteers to tackle the overcrowded foster care system in the state.
Member station KUAR reported Thursday Arkansas has a high recidivism rate of 48% and over 1,00 foster care children in need of a home. Arkansas’ foster care issue is also having a huge effect on a Northeast Arkansas organization who works often with children in the system.
Gateway CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocates, serves the counties of Jackson, Randolph, Lawrence, and Sharp. CASA is a national program which advocates for abused or neglected children and helps them find permanent homes. Amanda Parish is the Advocate Coordinator for Gateway CASA. She explains why this program is important:
The numbers are still climbing all over the state and are being felt at Gateway CASA.
Parish says they are having trouble with having enough volunteers to meet the demand for cases. She says they receive 1 to 2 cases per week. Parish also says even though they deal with the foster care system, that’s not the only way volunteers help children:
Gateway CASA was stationed in Walnut Ridge, but was moved to their new home office in Ash Flat. Parish says since they have moved, judges in the area have seen a benefit with the program:
She says they are looking for volunteers mostly from Randolph and Lawrence Counties. Parish says anyone who is interested in becoming a volunteer can fill out an application on their website or give them a call at 870-994-7844.