With the increased time families are spending together due to COVID-19-related social distancing, Lakeway Court Appointed Special Advocates Executive Director Kelley Williams is expecting an uptick in child abuse cases.
“We’re in great need of volunteers,” Williams said. “Kids are not being seen right now.”
To this end, Lakeway CASA will have a virtual child advocate training from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday, June 18 via the Zoom meeting application. The meetings will be for five weeks.
“Typically, when a report abuse is called, it’s typically by a teacher or daycare professional,” Williams said.
However, due to social distancing, most daycares and schools have been closed due to COVID 19.
“This is double the impact,” she said. “There’s likely going to be a great increase in child abuse cases. We’re wanting to ramp up our efforts and get more volunteers.”
Williams said that those who are interested in being special advocates should register early so required background checks can be conducted.
“The sooner we get people in and get them approved, we want to make sure they’re vetted,” Williams said.
“It’s a big commitment to do the training.”
Thanks to a grant through the national CASA organization, the training will be available. Part of the training is held on Zoom, then part of the training is self-guided, according to Williams.
Lakeway CASA trains community volunteers to become advocates for abused and neglected children in Hamblen, Jefferson and Sevier Counties. The training is free and no special skills or education required. The training is 30 hours. Abused and neglected children need advocates now more than ever. Pre-registration is required. For more information call the main office at 423-307-5762 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.