CASA Volunteers Needed

Executive Director of CASA Glenda Noyes poses for a photo on Thursday in the Victim Services offices at the Law and Justice Center.

A nonprofit says it has a shortage of volunteers to be legal advocates for kids who are abused and neglected.

Court Appointed Special Advocates is a nonprofit that connects volunteers to kids involved in child abuse and neglect cases. The volunteer interviews the children, reports the children’s condition and makes recommendations to the court.

Glenda Noyes, executive director for CASA, said the program is serving all children in need of services in Gallatin County. However, the nonprofit needs more volunteers for kids who might need help in the coming months. Noyes said the demand for volunteers increases every year as more children need advocates.

Noyes said she typically gets 10 to 15 people interested in volunteering. However, this time around, she said, there are about five people signed up for a Feb. 2 training.

“Usually I have a waiting list, but this time we just didn’t have that,” Noyes said. “We haven’t had a lot of new inquiries.”

Volunteers are trained to work with children who have experienced trauma. They also work with the child’s parents to get them back on track.

“We do what we can to help them navigate the process and do better, so that they can be reunited with their children, if it’s safe to do so,” Noyes said.

Training is broken up into three-hour segments over about four weeks before volunteers are assigned to a family, which could include one or more children. The nonprofit also conducts a brief interview and runs a background check.

Jen Allen, a track and field coach at Montana State University, said she’s been volunteering with CASA for about 10 years. Allen said the program is a good way to be helpful in a kid’s life, but it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming commitment.

“A little bit of that time could go a long way for that child, and even for that family,” she said.

Those interested in volunteering should fill out an application and submit it to the nonprofit’s office inside the Law and Justice Center at 615 S. 16th Ave., Room 313, Bozeman, MT 59715.

Freddy Monares can be reached at fmonares@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2630. Follow him on Twitter @TGIFreddy.

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