Volunteers who work with kids in family court plan a vigil at this time tomorrow in Storm Lake. Christi Allender is a Buena Vista University student intern who planned this year’s event for the CASA program.It is for Iowa’s 11 children who died as a result of child abuse last year, and people will come to light candles and remember them, as well as hear Buena Vista University professor Leon Williams, director of inter-cultural affairs, speak on child abuse. Eleven children died in domestic situations last year, and Allender says the regional program involves volunteers in Buena Vista, Cherokee and Ida Counties. CASA stands for Court-Appointed Special Advocates.They’re there to speak on behalf of the child, working alongside the lawyers and judge, visiting parents, and just making sure things are being done for, and in the best interests of, that child. Allender says these are not necessarily children who’ve been take from their home or family, just those who find themselves involved in the court system. A judge or attorney can ask that a CASA be appointed to a case, and they act as a “guardian ad litem.” Thursday’s candlelight vigil on the courthouse green in Storm Lake will feature gingerbread-style figures representing each of the children killed in the last year by child abuse.
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