Northeast Oklahoma CASA Seeking Volunteer Advocates

TULSA, Okla. — A nonprofit that trains volunteers to become court-appointed advocates for abused and neglected children is raising funds and engaging more volunteers.

A CASA volunteer said this is very important work, but the organization does not have enough staff to do it.

Data from the organization suggests that unless they get more help, they may only be able to help one in three children who need it.

“I feel like it was a divine call from God, for me to stand up for children because their best interest is not always taken into account and that’s what we do as CASA,” said CASA pro bono attorney Paula Watson.

Paula Watson has spent the past eight years giving of her heart and time to advocating for children who have been taken from their homes. After working in public schools for forty years, she decided to use that experience to help others.

“We are investigators who look and try to find facts that the DHS agent may not find,” Watson said.

As a spokesperson for CASA, she works closely with the child’s adoptive and biological parents, getting to know them to help find the child a home environment where they can thrive.

“And we’re also known as the eyes and ears of the judge,” Watson said.

Throughout her career as a lawyer, she has supervised eleven different cases and helped 25 children.

“I’m so happy to say that we have found their forever home with their adoptive parents and they are now living lives that make them shine,” Watson said.

Watson is one of 46 volunteers from six different counties in northeast Oklahoma who defend children in court, but they could always use more volunteers.

“There are a lot more foster kids who could use a defender if we had these defenders, so we need to recruit more of them,” CASA’s director of resource development and marketing said.

Ogle said they could handle 350 cases, with each of those cases representing at least one child. Currently, they can only serve 34% of them.

Their volunteers have also dropped by 35% over the past year.

They said that’s partly because many defenders often take breaks during the summer.

People with CASA ask, if you have a heart for helping children, please apply.

You can find the app on their website by clicking here.

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