OSAGE COUNTY, Okla. — Volunteers who are considered the eyes and ears of the court are in huge demand in most rural counties across Oklahoma.
They're called CASAs - Court Appointed Special Advocates.
Judges in these child abuse cases depend on the volunteers, and so do the children.
Every Wednesday in Osage County, Judge Stuart Tate listens to what the court calls "the deprived docket.”
It's basically abuse and neglect cases for children – infants to 18 years. The most vulnerable children in our community, who are to afraid to speak up.
“Many of the children are young they can't speak for themselves anyway,” Tate said. “Even the older ones have experienced some sort of trauma abuse or neglect and they need a voice."
If Judge Tate had his way, there would be a CASA for every child that comes through his courtroom.
For 22 years, Helen Norris has been in charge of the CASA project in Osage and Pawnee counties.
Like many other counties, they are looking for volunteers who have a passion for helping children.
“There are a lot of cases that do not have a CASA on and you can tell,” Norris said. “They linger in the court longer."
If you're interested in becoming a volunteer, contact the courthouse in your community.
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