LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - More than just a health crisis, the coronavirus pandemic has now put a dent into Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA.
“This time is really different because of the pandemic,” said Kelli Diaz, CASA of Central Virginia recruitment and development coordinator.
They say that because so many people are staying home, child abuse could go unreported.
“We know that children are not coming into care right now, they’re not being reported right now. But as soon as teachers are able to see these children, we know that we’re gonna get an influx, not only for our CASA program, but all over the country,” said Diaz.
As a result, they say the demand for volunteers will be higher if case numbers begin to rise again. As a part of their call for help, they’re asking for men to step up and become CASAs.
“We only have about 22% of our volunteers right now are male and Darnell is certainly one of the best,” said Diaz.
Darnell Wood is a CASA volunteer who works out of the Bedford area. “You will get more out of it than you could ever put into it,” he said.
He’s been a volunteer for almost four years and says more men are needed to be father figures to children. “Most of the cases that I’m involved with are males and there’s not enough male advocates to actually provide the necessary safety net for all the males in the system,” he said.
Wood calls for other men to volunteer and make an impact. No experience is necessary, only the commitment to the cause.
“We definitely want you to have time because all these children, they’ve been let down by adults, so we do not want to be another adult that lets them down,” said Diaz.