CANO Provides Child Advocacy Support in Ottawa & Delaware Counties
Child Advocates of Northeastern Oklahoma (CANO) steps in after Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) suspends it support to Ottawa and Delaware counties
CANO’s Executive Director Angela Henderson says “I think that they had gotten to a point where they were having difficulty recruiting board members and raising funds in the area and their staff had decreased. And I think the volunteers had decreased. And so the board was wanting to make sure that if they did dissolve that it didn’t completely go away.”
CANO is a CASA affiliated organization that helps abused or neglected children in foster care navigate the court system till they are placed in a safe and more permanent home. Currently there are more than 500 open cases for deprived children in the 13th Judicial District.
Henderson says “We’re serving maybe 20 of those cases at this time so you can see the need pretty readily.”
A child advocate not only provides a second set of eyes and ears for the children they serve but can sometimes also benefit the parents in the judicial process.
Ottawa County Assistant District Attorney Rogers Hughes says “They’re absolutely essential in helping not only the state, but the judge, the parents, everyone to identify what may be going on with a child .”
Unlike Child Protective Services and Department of Human Services, child advocates do not have to notify families to pay a visit.
“There are things that families may want to hide. For example, in cases I dealt with in the last year sometimes its drug abuse in the home, sometimes its domestic violence, sometimes its issues of severe neglect or whatnot…So they can come in, they may see things that are hidden.”
CANO currently has only eight volunteers and is looking to grow to about 35-50 strong. It’s holding a training class next Saturday, January 23 at 9m at the First United Methodist Church in Grove at 1005 Leisure Rd. Call or email Angela Henderson for more information at 918-923-4570 or email@example.com.