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Volunteers Needed as Child Advocates

September 11, 2000|GAIL DAVIS

Interface Children and Family Services is seeking volunteers for its Court-Appointed Special Advocates program, which helps abused and neglected children navigate the legal and social service system.

Volunteers will participate in 48 hours of training over a five-week period starting Oct. 17, then be matched with a child who has been removed from home and is a dependent of the court.

Volunteers will spend time with their appointed child, the child's social worker, foster parents and other adults in the child's life. They will also work with the child's attorneys and social workers to look out for the best interests of the child in dependency court. The work takes about three hours a week, said Pam Cady, manager of the program.

"They're there to make a difference," she said. "If there's something missing, if there's a need, if they're slipping through the cracks. We want to make sure they're not forgotten."

The program was started in 1977 by a Seattle judge who became concerned he was making choices for abused and neglected children without enough information. He trained community workers and swore them in as officers of the court.

Interface started a Ventura County chapter of the program in 1985. Male volunteers are especially needed, Cady said.

For more information, call 485-6114, Ext. 654.

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