Shortage of CASA Volunteer Advocates for N.H. Kids Means Cases are Turned Away

Oct 29, 2018

Credit FILE

New Hampshire has a shortage of people volunteering as court appointed special advocates. These volunteers help abused and neglected children through the court processes.  

In 2015, the agency was able to accept 90 percent of family court cases. This past year, it was just able to accept 65 percent.

Carolyn Cote is the communications director for CASA New Hampshire. She says the opioid crisis has meant a lot more cases are going through the family court system. 

"We've really seen a significant increase in the number of cases we're being asked to take, and even though we have seen an increase in the volunteers we've brought into the program, it's just not keeping up with the same pace," Cote said. 

In Strafford County, for example, CASA had to turn away almost half of the cases this past year because of a lack of volunteers to work with the children involved.

After some local press coverage about this issue, Cote says a lot of people have applied to volunteer.

And now, the agency is at full capacity for a training in Dover this Thursday.

The agency had about 500 volunteers statewide last year.