Iowa’s Child Advocacy Board reports that in spite of budget cuts, it’s been a successful year for kids’ advocates in the courts and the foster-care review board. Director Jerry Foxhoven credits the work of volunteers for most of it. With DHS caseloads high and other programs being cut, volunteers have stepped up and the staff’s given a lot, so both programs can give the maximum possible help with the few dollars they have. The child advocacy board partners with the state’s department of human services, to add hours of volunteer work for children and to check the system to make sure it’s working. Foxhoven doesn’t know of any program in Iowa that depends more heavily on volunteers to do vital work. Foxhoven says there are “tons,” about a thousand volunteers who give many hours to serve abused and neglected children whose parents cannot or will not take care of them. He calls it “heartwarming” to see Iowans step up to the plate and give time to serve children. Foxhoven says despite all the challenges it’s been a great year. They’ve tried to “think outside the box” he says, to find ways the past three years to serve more clients with fewer resources, and while CASA’s grown by almost half this year, he thinks it’ll grow that much again next year. The Foster Care Review Board’s grown in three years from thirty counties to 56, and CASA — the Court Appointed Special Advocates who oversee child-protection issues in the court — expanded in just one year from 30 to 54 counties and added lots of volunteers.
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