The Scottsbluff-Gering Chamber of Commerce held their first Business After Hours last night since the emergence of COVID more than a year ago, honoring CASA of Scotts Bluff County for 25 years of service.
CASA Director Kelcie McBride told KNEB News the organization has seen a lot of changes, many of them very recent, including a sharp increase in demand for representing children that’s now about 100 overall cases per year.
“We’re also seeing a lot of pretty severe cases that are coming in, and with the pandemic, we’ve also seen a lot of neglect,” said McBride. “I think financially it’s been very rough on people, and our kids have not been seen by people as much. So, when schools weren’t in session, or at least they were doing it virtually, the people that typically see these kiddos and report signs of abuse, were not able to see them.”
McBride says only about 40 percent of the children needing a voice in the court system get that representation through CASA, as more volunteers are needed.
After an extensive training period, volunteers spend up to 10 hours a month helping a child, and you can find out more about how to do so by going online to casaofscbcounty.com.