MUSCATINE, Iowa–Volunteers are needed to help children and youth from Muscatine County in the child welfare system. Two options exist, becoming a member of the Iowa Citizen’s Foster Care Review Board (FCRB) or volunteering as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA).
Each role has its own responsibilities, but both are essential to ensuring decisions are made with the best interest of the children in mind. Each role is a way to ensure a child has a voice at a time when they may otherwise feel lost and unheard.
“Children who are removed and placed in foster care are usually children with less family resources and more safety risk situations,” said Nancy Manion, program coordinator, “all the more reason to have CASAs and FCRB monitoring the child and family situation.”
Currently in Muscatine County, the FCRB reviews 30 children in foster care and CASAs are involved with 12 children.
“Having advocates from the area involved as FCRB and CASAs not only helps these children and families through sharing knowledge of local resources, it also creates a sense of community, encouragement and understanding,” Manion said.
An immediate need exists to fill two open seats on the seven-person FCRB. A unique opportunity, FCRBs bring together members with a variety of backgrounds and experiences. They meet every other month to review cases to ensure the children are receiving the services and care they need. Additionally, the board makes sure the cases progress in a timely manner and address any obstacles or issues.
As a CASA, volunteers regularly visit the child for the case they are assigned, gather information, review records, and interview people in the child’s life. The advocate then provides recommendations and updates to the court based on what they found.