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Updated Mar 27, 2014 - 8:37 pm

Maricopa County ramping up for National Child Abuse Prevention Month

A man sits on a bench after spending the night in a makeshift camp set up inside a gymnasium following an earthquake, in Amatrice, central Italy, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. The civil protection agency set up tent cities around the affected towns to accommodate the homeless, 1,200 of whom took advantage of the offer to spend the night, civil protection officials said Thursday. In Amatrice, some 50 elderly and children spent the night inside a local sports facility. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and Maricopa County is asking you to “Be That Someone,” for a valley child in foster care.

“For a child a CASA volunteer advocate provides that consistent, caring adult in their life while they navigate the very complex and trying child welfare system,” said Laurie Laughlin, program director for CASA of Maricopa County.

CASA, the Court Appointed Special Advocate program, is kicking off the year-long volunteer recruitment campaign called “Be That Someone.”

“We have over 10,000 children involved in the foster care system in Maricopa County,” Laughlin said.

The system is swamped, and Laughlin said those children need help getting placement sooner rather than later.

“Placements change, service providers change, attorneys, therapists, schools … all of that changes,” she said. “The one thing that can be there for that child, through the length of their case is, the court appointed special advocate.”

If you’re over 21 and want to become an advocate, you must complete the application process that will include more than 30 hours of training, extensive background checks and polygraph tests.

Applications can be found at maricopacasa.org.

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