MARINETTE COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - A program to help abused and neglected children expanded from Brown County to Marinette about six months ago, and now a Marinette County Judge says he has already seen the impact in the courtroom.
In Marinette County, 20 volunteers are in frequent contact with 34 kids who have experienced trauma, reporting back on the child's wellbeing to a judge.
Judge James Morrison Marinette County tells Action 2 News, "It is a second set of eyes and ears that represents the children— to make sure that I get the information that I need to ensure that the kid's needs are being met."
The special advocates connect with kids by watching their progress at school or playing games with them at home. Bob and Penny Borchert are two of those Court Appointed Special Advocates.
"It's a chance for us to watch their mental acuity as they learn how to play new games,” said Bob, adding, "The hard part is sometimes when we have to say goodbye after the hour is up: 'Would you take me with you?' 'Can you stay?' That tugs at the heartstrings.”
“Some emotional difficulties— no doubt, brought on by tumultuous circumstances that they've experienced,” said Penny. “So sometimes we may get one kind of response from a child and another day they can be completely different."
Judge Morrison says the advocates' monthly reports back to him are invaluable: helping him make tough decisions concerning the kids.
“They bring up changes in the home, the parents, the problems, changes with other people in the home, problems with other kids in the homes. They bring up the concerns that they have, maybe concerns at school. They bring up the things that bother seven or eight-year-old kids,” said Judge Morrison. "The children know that somebody's actually talking to them, concerned about them, doing what they need. And providing that information to me gives me the assurance that I'm getting the full picture."
Even though CASA has a decent amount of support in Marinette County, there are still about twenty children who need help in Marinette County, and there are opportunities in other counties, too. If you are interested in getting involved, contact Taylor Connell at email@example.com, or visit https://www.casabc.org/casa-volunteers.