COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Every child needs a hero but every abused child needs a superhero. This is the motto that one local organization stands by as they ran the race in raising awareness for child abuse prevention month.
The Chattahoochee Court of appointed special advocates for children, also known as Chattahoochee's CASA, brought awareness to child abuse prevention month at their costume contest, 5k, and one mile run on Saturday at Woodruff Park.
Program Coordinator for Chattahoochee's CASA, Rosalind Alston says it's the organizations job to recruit, train and supervise community volunteers who advocate for children in foster care that have been abused.
The organization tries to find out why a child is in foster care, what the family issues are and resources available for that family.
Alston says there could be many reasons why a child is placed in foster care. It could be due to behavioral changes in a child, physical abuse, the belief there may be sexual or emotional abuse, negligence and odd parental behavior like mental issues or drug abuse.
Once a child is placed in foster care due to abuse or negligence, Chattahoochee CASA's job is to make sure the juvenile court understands the specific needs of the child.
"There are over 507 children in Muscogee County Foster Care and there are about 590 children in our judicial circuit," says Alston.
For the 507 children, Muscogee County only has 80 local foster homes which means about 45 percent of kids end up being placed outside of Muscogee County.
"So the number of substantiated cases has significantly risen as well as the need to remove those children from the home and actually place them in foster care," says Alston.
Chattahoochee's CASA wants to lower those number in hopes to finding these kids permanent family homes.
This is why Chattahoochee CASA is raising awareness through their 5k and one mile run.
The organization also hopes to attract more volunteers.