FAIRMONT, W.Va. – The Marion County Court Appointed Special Advocates for Kids, better known as CASA, held a swearing-in ceremony in the courthouse with The Honorable Judge Patrick Wilson on Wednesday.

Wilson swore in the newest CASA members and advocate officials said their volunteers are community members that want to help children that are in foster care that may have been in an abusive or neglectful situation. Officials stated the training process is an eight-week program that trains the court-appointed advocate on the aspects of what they could be dealing with.

“We had wonderful, wonderful people from CASA teaching us all their experience, but it’s a lot to wrap your head around, the different circumstances that these kids are put in and the way they’re forced to grow up and that kind of thing,” said Jennifer Curtis, a newly sworn-in CASA member.

Casa members said they know there are a lot of issues going on in Marion County and the state as a whole especially dealing with substance abuse and there are children who get caught in the middle of the situations.

“There’s a lot of kids in our county that have unfortunately been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. And we can only serve the number of children that we have volunteers. And so, right now including them [the newest members] we have about 20 volunteers,” said Katelyn Cox, Director of CASA for Marion County.

Each CASA advocate only takes one case which is a single child or a family group. According to Marion County CASA officials last year there were approximately 160 kids removed from their homes. CASA was only able to serve a handful of those 160 kids.

“So, we’re always looking for more volunteers because we love to be able to serve all of the children that come into care,” Cox said. “And it’s really a beautiful thing because they’re volunteers and because of CASA they actually serve one case at a time.”

Marion County CASA officials added they are always looking for new volunteers and donations for volunteers to be able to take to the children. If you would like to become an advocate or donate items you can call their office during normal business hours at 304-366-4198

On Saturday, May 14, CASA will be having a 5K Super Hero Race at 8 a.m. at White Oaks in Bridgeport where there will be plenty of kids activities popcorn, shaved ice, games and much more.