Advocates against child abuse speak out

The Lily Pad Sane Center

April has been deemed as National Child Abuse Prevention Month and organizations around the country are speaking up to help raise awareness about the issue and also gain supporters.

Abuse, whether mental, physical or sexual, can traumatize a child.

"When children are experiencing physical abuse they can become anxious. They can have life-long effects. Sometimes these children can become abusers themselves," said Licensed Psychologist Dr. Cheryl Kaiser.

Working with children who experienced abuse in the home can be difficult for many but there are those who have a knack for dealing with this type of issue. Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) are those people.

They work under the umbrella of the Lily Pad. Many believe that CASA only work with sexually abused children but that is not the case. These advocates work with children who have experienced all forms of abuse.

"A lot of them have young parents that just have lost their way and some of them are due to drugs and physical abuse," said CASA Volunteer Coordinator Jershaun Roberts-Burns.

Although volunteers can't change what happened to the children in the past, their aim is to prevent future abuse by placing the kids in stable homes where they can be nurtured.

However, there are some road blocks. Out of the 40 people volunteering for the organization, only four are male. They are hoping this month prompts more people to step up and become a volunteer.

"We want those people who are passionate about children, and have a passion for the love of children," said CASA Program Director Evelyn Cookley.

And if you're not able to volunteer, be a voice.

"If a child is being abused go to the nearest adult that you can trust. Let them know that your dealing with a child that is in an abusive situation," said Dr. Kaiser.

For more information on becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) contact Mrs. Jershaun Roberts-Burns at Dougherty CASA, (229) 435-0074 or doughertycasa@gmail.