BOISE, Idaho — Family Advocates, an organization that works with kids involved in child protection cases, is seeing a spike in cases and says they need more volunteers.
The organization is serving more than 350 kids right now. Last fiscal year, they served 500 kids total.
With about 180 volunteers, they’re looking for more help.
Darci Anderson, the fourth judicial district CASA director said Family Advocates represent the best interests of children in active child protection cases. They do this with the help of volunteer court-appointed special advocates.
One volunteer said the court-appointed special advocates are the kids’ voices in the courtroom.
“I tell the judge how they’re doing, how they’re doing with their foster homes, maybe how they’re doing in school, if they have any medical issues,” Brenda Munsey said.
The volunteers check in with the kids at least once a month and talk with teachers, doctors and other people to gather this information.
They’re not the only ones working on the case. Social workers from the department of health and welfare are involved along with the staff at family advocates.
You don’t need any special experience to volunteer.
“Anybody who wants to help, anybody who has an interest in serving kids. We would love for you to reach out and be a volunteer for us,” Anderson said.
Family Advocates has training to teach volunteers exactly how to do this job. Brenda Munsey has been volunteering for seven years and says the work is rewarding and challenging.
“These kids really depend upon us because sometimes we’re the only common person in a case. Sometimes the social workers may change out for a variety of reasons, sometimes kids may move to different foster homes or different schools,” she said.
Family Advocates serves Idaho's Fourth Judicial District which includes Ada, Boise, Elmore and Valley counties. In Ada County, the organization also needs more pro bono attorneys.
For more information or to sign up to volunteer, click here.