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Beginning of school year often reveals child abuse, neglect

August 19, 2015
Iowa Court Appointed Special Advocate Program , Estherville News

From the Iowa Court Appointed Special Advocate Program

The end of summer and the start of a new school year is an exciting time for most children. But for some, the beginning of school could reveal a dark secret when signs of abuse and neglect these children have suffered over the summer are noticed by teachers, staff and other parents.

"Because children are subject to less adult supervision over the summer, it's not uncommon for reports of suspected abuse and neglect to spike at the start of the school year," said Melissa Loehr, Court Appointed Special Advocate Coordinator.

Many of the children who are confirmed as victims are removed from their homes and placed into foster care-often far from their friends, families and schools. CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) volunteers from Northwest Iowa are specially screened and trained to speak up for abused and neglected children who, through no fault of their own, end up in the foster care system.

"Being uprooted from their homes and families is scary for these children. We at Northwest Iowa CASA want to make sure that they do not get lost in the overburdened foster care system," Loehr said. "For that reason, we need more people in our community to speak up and make sure these children's voices are heard. We want to help ensure that their stay in foster care is as short as possible and that they are placed in safe, loving homes quickly so they can begin to heal."

There is a need for committed CASA volunteers to advocate for the best interest of children in all our Northwest Iowa Counties.

"Too many children are forced to go through the chaos of moving through the child protection system alone," Loehr said. "Northwest Iowa CASA needs more volunteers to step up and be a voice for children who desperately need them."

Tiffany Thomas, Estherville has been a CASA volunteer since April 2015. As a CASA volunteer, she advocates for children's needs in court and in the child welfare system. She helps them through their struggles in foster care. Tiffany's number one goal is to help the children find a safe, loving family.

"We need more dedicated CASA volunteers like Tiffany to walk with children every step of the way and ensure that they are placed into safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible," Loehr said.

This school year, become a CASA volunteer and help children in need find safe, permanent homes. For more information, visit email: or call 712-262-0271. We have also just updated all CASA training and this can be provided in several different sessions locally for your convenience.



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