CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A Charlottesville nonprofit dedicated to supporting abused and neglected children is recruiting new volunteers. The Piedmont Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) trains people to help protect the most vulnerable kids in our community.

Last year, 121 volunteers were appointed by a judge to advocate for 234 different children. Piedmont CASA President Alicia Lenahan says at any given time, about 40 kids are waiting for that helping hand.

The group is looking for volunteers to participate in its fall training class.   Anyone who is interested must attend an information session at Piedmont CASA first.  Those are held every Thursday starting this week through August 28 at 12 p.m. and 6 p.m.

People are then screened through a lengthy application and interview process. Chosen volunteers can then attend the first training session on September 15.

Lenahan said, “They have the ability to really look at the child's circumstances and then they report to the judge to let him know how the child is doing, what services are in place, what services are necessary in order to make sure that during this very difficult chapter his needs are being met.”

Piedmont CASA volunteers go through an intensive 30-hour training course.  This year, the group is using a new flex learning curriculum - alternating 15 hours online and 15 in the classroom.

The fall training is catered to volunteers who can attend sessions in the evenings.  Click here for more information.