JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - On Monday, Jackson County's CASA program will begin training another round of volunteers to advocate for neglected and abused kids in the foster care system. The problem is the organization doesn't have enough people signed up to help.
Jackson County CASA Executive Director Frances Allsup said since the 1980s, her volunteer advocates have been a voice for abused and neglected children in court.
"So far this year, these volunteers at the end of July had put in over 7,700 hours," Frances said.
She admits the list of neglected and abused kids in need keeps growing.
"We have a waiting list of 551 children that are in custody right now, and out of those, we are serving 118," Frances said.
The non-profit desperately needs more volunteer advocates.
"We have 85 volunteers. The judge would like to see a volunteer for every child that is in foster care," said Francis.
CASA board member Adrian McCullum said without people signing up to stand up for kids' rights, they will continue to long for loving, safe homes.
"It is a horrible situation. For our volunteers to be able to be a voice for the children when they can't be a voice is an excellent opportunity for anyone that is willing to be that voice," McCullum said.
Volunteers from all walks of life are welcomed.
"You just have to be someone who has a heart for children that care and step up and do what needs to be done for the child," McCullum said.
Jimmy Allsup got involved with CASA several years ago and says the experience has been very rewarding.
"At some of the adoptions, we get to see some of the kids awarded back to where they should be, and it is just a really good feeling," said Jimmy.
Francis said with training starting Monday, she hopes people will heed the call to help end the cycle of child abuse in Jackson County.
"You want to make an impact. You want to stand up for them in the courtroom so that they are not forgotten," said Frances.
If you would like to become a Jackson County CASA volunteer, please call Frances Allsup at (228) 762-7370.