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Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Southwest Missouri will soon provide mental health training to its volunteers. CASA volunteers advocate in court for abused and neglected children. The goal of this new training is tobetter equipadvocates to work with children who come from homes where parents suffer from mental illnesses. KSMU’s Missy Shelton reports.
Next week, CASA volunteers will begin receiving training on mental health issues and how those relate to children in foster care and their parents. Dan Prater is the public affairs director for CASA of Southwest Missouri.
Prater says, “What we’re trying to do is give our volunteer advocates an opportunity to learn more about these varied disorders and be better prepared to identify them so they can recommend the court offer services that are proper for these kids as well as for the parents who are going through treatment plans.”
Prater says there are a number of children in the foster care system whose parents have mental health problems. And in some cases, poverty creates even more difficulties for the family.
Prater says, “Oftentimes, what you see is that the children and parents are coming from homes with severe poverty. As a result of poverty, they don’t have the proper resources they need to address these mental illnesses. They don’t have money for counseling and therapy. They don’t have money for medications. So, as a result, they often go untreated and that affects the whole family, including the children who live in those homes.”
CASA is able to provide its volunteers with this training thanks to a grant it received from the Musgrave Foundation of Springfield.