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CASA Of Marion County Holds Annual 'Child Watch' Tour

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MARION COUNTY -

It may seem often that you hear a story on the news about child abuse or neglect.

Many people don't realize exactly what the child has to go through once they are removed from the home.

For the past 15 years, a Marion County organization has given residents a look at what happens to these children.

The Court Appointed Special Advocates, CASA, of Marion County held its annual tour on Tuesday that allows people to walk in the shoes of an abused child.

"What we want to do is inspire people to come involved so they have a better understanding about what the child welfare system is and how it protects the children," said Kim Baker, CASA of Marion County.

Marion County residents were able to walk in the shoes of an abused child and wear the name tag of a case from the 1970's or 80's.

"It's hard to believe that it goes on," said Diane Watson, participant. "Now it's more of a reality after being on this tour."

Some said the best way to truly understand is by seeing what happens firsthand.

"You're walking basically a mile in their shoes," Watson said. "Until you do that, you know there is a problem but until you are actually in their shoes and walking in their shoes, you don't really know how real it is."

Residents stopped at places like Fairmont General Hospital's Emergency Room, Try-Again Homes, and even the Marion County Courthouse.

"We visit 12 different sites that a child might see if they are involved in the child abuse and neglect system," Baker said.

CASA hopes to help provide residents with a better understanding of what an abused child goes through.

"They can have a better understanding of the system through the eyes of a child," Baker said. "Understanding how confusing it could be, how hard it is on a family."

If you would like to become a foster parent, contact Try-Again Homes at 304-363-5863.