CASA Aims to Combat Child Neglect

State and local law enforcement officials work day in and day out to combat the heavy drug use along the Gulf Coast. Sometimes taking a drug user off of the streets also means taking children from their home. News 25’s Shelby Myers reports on the fight on drugs and the fight on child neglect in Harrison County.
The number 850 represents the number of children in Harrison County who have been taken from their home due to abuse and neglect; that is more children than any other county in the state.
Executive Director of CASA Sidney Massey said, “In fact, we have more children in custody here than in Atlanta, Georgia. That is a statistic we should not be proud of.”
Lt. Aldon Helmert works with the Biloxi Police Department every day to fight against drugs, the main reason these children are neglected and abused; more specifically: spice, heroin, and ice methamphetamine. “A number of years ago, we had legislation which outlawed Sudafed, so we’ve not seen as many meth labs where people were manufacturing meth, but we’re seeing methamphetamine imported into our area,” said Lt. Helmert.
Sometimes getting drugs off the streets also means tearing apart families.That’s were Casa comes into play, they help these children that are left behind from drug abuse and neglect. They either get them to foster care or eventually back with their family.
CASA runs on a volunteer basis and never has enough of the help they need to advocate for these abused children. Rhonda Collins is a peer coordinator volunteer who says volunteering has changed her life. “I believe that children do need a voice. They need a hero. Just from my very first case, I knew I made a difference. She told me that no matter who else was in her life, I was the only constant.”
CASA volunteers act as the voice in court for these children and make the best recommendations on what is in the child’s best interest.
If you would like to volunteer with CASA in Harrison County, you can call their office at 228-865-7078.

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