Child abuse and neglect is likely on the rise in the face of the CCOVID-19 pandemic, as families are put under more financial and emotional stress.


Children are no longer in the public eye — they are not at schools or daycare, or in other locations where caring individuals would be able to spot signs of abuse. CASA of the Tri-Peaks is working hard to ensure that abuse and neglect do not go unnoticed.


Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) are everyday community members who volunteer to be a voice for foster children in court who have experienced abuse or neglect. They meet with children in person at least once monthly and provide information to judges that helps them make the most well-informed decisions about each child.


These visits provide an opportunity for CASA volunteers to check in on children’s safety and well-being. But right now, meeting in person with the children they advocate for is difficult or impossible.


This means it is harder for them to gauge what is going on in children’s lives, and their needs.


These volunteers are working with program staff to find creative ways to continue to meet with children. Visits are now being conducted through phone calls, Facetime, and Zoom meetings.


“It’s imperative that our organization maintain contact with the foster children whom we know really need us right now. Although virtual visits are not ideal, it is a creative way to continue making a real difference in children’s lives,” said Crystal Strain, Executive Director for CASA of the Tri-Peaks. “We need volunteers now more than ever as more children are coming into the foster care system, and I encourage all community members to join with us either by volunteering or by helping us ensure children are safe during this time of national crisis.”


For more information about becoming a CASA volunteer or making a donation to CASA of the Tri-Peaks, please contact the Booneville office at (479) 675-2641 or send an email to casatripeaks15@centurytel.net. You can also visit their website at www.casaofthetripeaks.org or Facebook: Casa of the Tri-Peaks.


If you suspect a child is in immediate danger, please contact the police or call 9-1-1. You can also call the child abuse hotline at 1-800-482-5964.