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Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • Pinwheel garden helps raise awareness

  • April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and to help raise awareness locally Court Appointed Special Advocates, CASA, has planted a pinwheel garden outside of the Ford County Courthouse.
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  • April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and to help raise awareness locally Court Appointed Special Advocates, CASA, has planted a pinwheel garden outside of the Ford County Courthouse.
    "We planted 75 pinwheels," Kristin Hines, executive director of the local CASA said. "Each one represents a child that CASA of the 16th Judicial District helped in 2012."
    In the past blue ribbons have been passed out to raise awareness for the month, but a few years ago several children services organizations switched to pinwheels.
    "I think they chose pinwheels because they just symbolize childhood so well," Hines said. "I mean, you can hardly look at a pinwheel and not think of a child."
    This is the first year that the local CASA has cultivated a pinwheel garden, and they hope to continue in the future.
    A few other events are planed during the month of April to raise awareness as well, including 'Wear Blue Day". CASA asks everyone in the community to wear blue on April 19 and to take pictures of themselves, then e-mail them to CASA at casadodge@sbcglobal.net. The photos will then be posted on the CASA website, www.kansascasa.org/district16.
    Last year the local Dillons sold pinwheels to raise awareness as well. Hines is hopeful they will do that again this year.
    The pinwheels will remain on display throughout the month.
    About CASA
    The CASA  concept is based on the belief that every child has the right to a safe, permanent home.  Unlike attorneys and social workers, the CASA volunteer speaks exclusively for the child’s best interests.  By handling only one or two cases at a time, the CASA volunteer has the time to explore thoroughly the history of each assigned case.  The volunteer talks with the child, parents, family members, neighbors, school officials, doctors and others involved in the child’s life that may have facts about the case.  The volunteer then also reviews all records and documents pertaining to the child.  He or she then submits a formal report to the court-recommending placement: Should the child stay with his or her parents, be placed in foster care, or be freed for permanent adoption?  If the court leaves the child in temporary care, the CASA volunteer provides continuity by staying on the case until it is permanently resolved.
    Locally, CASA serves the 16th judicial district of Kansas. They are always looking for more volunteers and foster homes.
    "We are looking for people who are willing to take in siblings, teenagers and those with some behavioral issues," Lesley Percival, the foster care home supervisor said. "But, we will accept anyone who wants to provide a safe home for a child who needs one."
    To open your home to a child in need, call (620) 225-1442, ext. *831.
    Page 2 of 2 - "We also need volunteers to work with and spend time with the children," Hines said. "We never turn a child away who needs our help, and with the number of children we serve, we can always use more volunteers."
    To become a CASA volunteer call (620) 225-1278.

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