In this time of social distancing, we must all work to remain socially close to children. Child abuse and neglect is likely on the rise in the face of this pandemic, as families are put under more financial and emotional stress, but reporting may be down. Children are no longer in the public eye—they are not at schools or daycare, or in other locations where caring adults would be able to spot signs of abuse.

One group of people who speak up for children are Piedmont CASA volunteers. They work with children in the child welfare system who have experienced abuse or neglect. They meet with children in person monthly, advocate for children’s best interests and provide information to judges that helps them make the most well-informed decisions for each child.

These in-person visits provide an opportunity for Piedmont CASA volunteers to ensure the child is safe and well-cared for. In the midst of all that is going on during the COVID-19 pandemic, the wonderful volunteers of Piedmont CASA are finding creative ways to continue to meet with children. They are meeting with the children virtually through various platforms like FaceTime, Zoom, Skype and Gmail Hangout. They are able to lay eyes on the children, talk to the children about their day and any issues they are facing, and interact with them by reading together or playing games.

This kind of creativity is what will make a real difference in children’s lives right now. It is the kind of creativity that people in all sectors of society are demonstrating.

Piedmont CASA is working with community partners to spread awareness and to be proactive as we continue to practice social distancing during this time.

If you are willing to get involved in a life-changing and sometimes life-saving cause—the safety, health and well-being of a child—join us in speaking up for a child at this time of community crisis. When the world re-opens, the need will be greater than ever.

•Those who want to be a voice for a child and change a child’s life as a Piedmont CASA volunteer can use this time to learn more about how we serve the foster children in our communities by going to www.piedmontcasa.org, or our Piedmont CASA Facebook page. This is also a great time to join in our Virtual Volunteer Training classes in May. Our Recruiter, Tami Anton is scheduling virtual interviews and can be reached at tanton@piedmontcasa.org.

•It’s up to all of us to make sure children are safe. Here are some resources to learn more or report suspected abuse or neglect:

•If you suspect a child is in immediate danger, contact the police or 9-1-1.

•To report suspected abuse or neglect in Georgia, contact 1-855-GACHILD.

•For information on preventing abuse, visit the website of Child Abuse America at https://preventchildabuse.org/.

•For additional information on the CASA/GAL program and on the effects of child abuse or neglect, visit the Georgia CASA website at www.gacasa.org and the National CASA/GAL Association for Children’s website at https://nationalcasagal.org/.

•If you are a parent or caregiver who needs support, contact the National Parent Hotline at 1‑855‑427‑2736 or go to https://www.nationalparenthelpline.org/what-we-do

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