Child Advocates, a court-appointed special advocate agency in Indianapolis is looking for community volunteers to help give a voice to abused and neglected children. They have the goal of 250 volunteers by the end of the year.
"Sometimes I have to take a time out because I get emotional because I see myself in a lot of them," said Danielle Pierson, A Child Advocates staff member.
Pierson had a child advocate as a high school student, and after college, she became an advocate.
She said before she met Brian Robinson, her child advocate, she was missing a solid figure in her life.
"It was difficult because there wasn't anyone that made their presence known."
"This is the best case scenario for Danielle, to come out of the foster care system, and go to college, and stick with it and graduate," said Brian Robinson, who has worked for Child Advocates for 11 years.
The agency is fully staffed, but they want the more than 200 volunteers to help them deal with their large case loads. Only a small group of advocates graduated last week.
James Payne, Director of the Department of Child Services in Indiana, weighed in on the request for additional help.
"I think in these challenging and difficult times, the more eyes and ears we have watching chidren, aware of what's happening in the family, making reccomendations, the better off we are," said Payne.
Volunteers are assigned a child, who on average, spends nine months in the system. They are in contact with case workers, interview parents, help the child with any medical or educational needs, and at times, stand up for them in court.
"To be able to come forth and to be able to be that voice is not only helpful for the youth but it should be huge for that volunteer as well," said Pierson.
Volunteers have to be at least 21 years-old and be able to commit six to eight hours a month to the child. There will be a background check.
The next training session is scheduled for April 9.
Registration can be completed online.