NewsCovering Colorado


Non-profit can't help growing number of abused kids without more volunteers

Posted at 6:02 PM, Apr 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-02 20:37:18-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — CASA of the Pikes Peak Region has to turn away abused kids in need because there are not enough volunteers to pair with them.

CASA stands for 'Court Appointed Special Advocates.' Volunteers support kids through DHS open dependency and neglect cases.

"Parents may be out of the picture, they're put in a foster home, they're so confused, especially the younger children," said volunteer Carl Brantley.

CASA helped 657 children in 2023. That's 5% more kids served than the previous fiscal year.

The goal was 800.

Another 100 volunteers are needed to meet the number of kids referred to CASA, said its communications manager Keri Kahn.

"We really need community members to come in, get trained, do the work so that we can serve all the children," said Kahn.

Brantley has been volunteering for seven years.

"We never want someone thinking they got to know everything about the system to be successful, no just have the heart," said Brantley.

CASA has three volunteer info sessions throughout April. Click here for dates and times.

Brantley said he spends about five hours every week with a kid at their foster home or doing an activity like going to the zoo.

"You build a relationship with them, that's probably the hardest thing to do, but also most rewarding 'cause these children have had so many people come into their lives and leave their lives."

Historically, the Pikes Peak Region has the most reports of abused or neglected children in Colorado.

"This is the first year, I've seen it go past 18,000," said Kahn.

If you think a child is experiencing abuse or neglect, call the state's hotline 844-264‑5437.

Safe-Passage helped about 700 abused or neglected kids last year.

They can't legally turn any away because these kids are in investigations involving felony charges, said Emily Bowker.

The director of development, strategies and partnerships, Bowker said they have to pull staff to meet the demand of kids in need.

"We can't provide as best of care when [kids] do come if we don't have [enough] people," said Bowker.

Click here for information about volunteering with Safe-Passage.


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