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CASA of Southwest Missouri
In Greene County, there are more than 890 children in the state's custody because of abuse and/or neglect.890 abused children'listen to some of their stories.
All these children have been to the emergency shelter at boys and girls town in Springfield. When foster families aren't available right away, the emergency shelter is a place where social workers can place children until they find a suitable foster home.
After about one year in operation, the emergency shelter has stayed at or near capacity, housing as many as 17 children at a time. Bringing attention to the high rates of child abuse and neglect in southwest Missouri is the goal of casa'during April, casa of southwest Missouri is participating in national child abuse prevention and awareness month.
Casa-court appointed special advocates are volunteers who visit the home from which a child has been removed'they evaluate whether or not it's safe for the state to return the child to the home. Rhoda Clark, the head of the local casa explains why southwest Missouri has higher rates of child abuse and neglect than other parts of the state.
During the month of April, casa is working to increase public awareness of child abuse and neglect. Clark says awareness will lead the public to be pro-active in dealing with child abuse. Advocates like Clark say there's more than just getting the message out to adults'kids who are being victimized need to know they can make it stop by telling someone what's happening to them.
One teenager who has been abused and neglected says she wants to empower others who are going through what she's experienced'