KOTA Cares: Rapid City’s Seventh Circuit CASA program advocated for children in need

Updated: Aug. 17, 2023 at 7:00 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - According to the South Dakota Department of Social Services, more than 1,500 children are currently in foster care within the state.

On this week’s KOTA Cares, we spotlight the Seventh Circuit CASA program in Rapid City and its mission to advocate for youth in need.

Many children in foster care often feel unloved or unwanted and need someone to have their backs and be their voice in the courtroom and CASA volunteers do just that.

CASA, which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates, are volunteers appointed by a judge to help advocate for the best interest of abused and neglected youth.

“Children are an important part of our community. And when we can come in and show safe, caring, respectful advocacies for children, we can help to prevent future periods of disruption, instability or potentially prolonging the cycles of abuse and neglect,” said Kehala Two Bulls, executive director for the Seventh Circuit CASA program.

By spending time with their assigned children plus talking with family members, teachers, and social workers, CASAs can gather information that will help them make recommendations to the court.

CASA volunteers also provide a stable relationship for children in need.

By giving a voice to youth in need, CASA volunteers can help heal trauma and make sure children are not re-victimized.

”Unfortunately, in our area, there is a high volume of children in foster care. So, we have about 400 children on our waiting list who need advocates right now,” added Two Bulls. And that’s why it’s important to reach out to the community and let everyone know what’s going on.”

To become a CASA volunteer, you must be 21 years old and be able to commit at least one year to an assigned case.

Volunteers also undergo 30 hours of training, split between in-person and online classes, before being assigned a case. The next class begins in October.

To donate to this week’s KOTA Cares, click the link here.