The recent deaths of some juveniles in foster care in Iowa shows the need for more CASAs — Court-Appointed Special Advocates — for the children who are in the foster care system

And says Jim Hessenius, who works with Benton County children, many more volunteers are needed here.

“I am looking for volunteers who will be responsible for checking on the children in foster care or a shelter,” Hessenius explains. “We always need more foster parents but CASA is for independent investigations into the case and making recommendations to the Juvenile Court Judge regarding the child’s welfare.”

Hessenius explains his job, and his effort to recruit others:

“I am a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. I trained for 30 hours and continue training every month. After the initial training I was sworn in as an officer of the court with a Judge’s order that allows me to obtain records pertaining to the child to assure they are in a safe environment. The children have been placed in foster care or a group facility and it is my job to visit them at least once a month to assure they are safe and secure.”

More than 50 children within Benton County are at risk and need help, Hessenius explains, adding a plea for more volunteers.

“Please find it in your heart to volunteer to help these children. The DHS workers are given unrealistic case loads so a CASA can work with the DHS and the Guardian AD Litem to assure the child’s safety.”
Those interested in becoming a CASA are asked to call Hessenius at 319-551-7763 to talk about CASA, and how to participate, in depth.