A state representative wants to look into expanding Missouri’s program for court-appointed child advocates.
Representative Bill Lant (R-Pineville) said he did not realize those volunteers, who work in the child welfare system to advocate in court for the best interest of a child, aren’t in every judicial circuit.
He said those in his district, at least, have plenty to do.
“Having worked with CASA in my district, we have probably 30 volunteers in a two-county, very rural district, and they stay busy all the time. The judges uses them extensively to report on conditions in the home, how the child’s doing at school, how they’re coordinating with the foster parents, how well they’re working out in that environment,” said Lant.
Lant said those volunteers make a big difference.
“The CASA volunteer talks to their teachers, they’ll talk to the foster parents, they’ll look at the homes. They get involved in the child’s life enough to know why the child is making good decisions or bad decisions,” said Lant.
He said he doesn’t believe more state or federal money would be needed to expand CASA to more circuits, saying much of their support is also found locally.
Lant says expanding the system will require talking to judges.
The committee he chairs on child abuse and neglect meets again on July 25.