April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Throughout the month of April, CASA encourages members throughout the community to help the program serve more of Ford County’s most vulnerable children.

April is a time to celebrate the important role that Court Appointed Special Advocates and communities play in protecting children.

It’s a time when communities come together to raise awareness of child abuse prevention and show support for programs and activities to help our children succeed. Western Plains Medical Complex along with many other locations, participated and would encourage more individuals to get involved with CASA.

"When we create healthy environments for children, we promote a healthier community," said Kerry Tirman, CEO.

Western Plains employees participated in planting CASA pinwheel gardens in the front entrances of the hospital.

Western Plains participants also included Dr. Andrew Adams from Western Plains Surgical Associates.

When a child is placed in the foster care system due to abuse or neglect, they are often removed from their home and placed in state care – sometimes far away from their family, loved ones and community. CASA volunteers, are everyday people who are recruited and specially trained to advocate for these children and provide a consistent, reliable adult presence for them during a difficult time in their life.

The children that are in the child welfare system come in through no fault of their own.

"The number of children coming into care continues to grow and we aim to meet that need," said CASA executive director Kristin Hines. "Volunteers are a consistent advocate for these children. A child may have multiple social workers, attorneys, therapists, and foster placements throughout the life of their case, but one CASA volunteer, can make all the difference for the child’s future."

The odds are stacked against children in foster care. A child with a CASA volunteer spends 20 percent less time in foster care, on average, compared to a child without a CASA volunteer.

Studies show that children with a CASA volunteer receive more services that are critical to their well-being and are four times more likely to find a permanent home.

"Every child in the system deserves the support of a caring, consistent, trained adult to help them find a safe, loving home where they heal and thrive," said Danielle Stroud, marketing and public relations director for Western Plains.

CASA advocates ensure that children and their families have the resources, services and support that will help them thrive.

If you’d like more information about CASA, or if you’re interested in becoming involved with CASA to become a supporter or a volunteer, call our local CASA office at 620-225-1278.