April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and just in time for celebration the Missouri General Assembly has passed a bill renewing the former Children in Crisis Tax Credit -- to be renamed the Champion for Children tax credit -- to attract donations for this important work.
The Champion for Children tax credit benefits CASAs throughout Missouri by providing a 50 percent tax credit for cash donations of more than $100. CASA of Southeast Missouri recruits, screens, trains and provides staff support for volunteers who serve as voices for children in the 32nd Judicial Circuit Juvenile Court in Bollinger, Cape Girardeau and Perry counties. Advocates investigate the case, facilitate delivery of services, advocate on behalf of the child in court and monitor cases until they are closed. They are the only people in the case whose sole focus is the welfare of the child. Unlike overburdened children's division case workers, juvenile officers and judges, CASA volunteers have only one or two cases, and are able to take the time to truly get to know what is in the best interest of the child and pass that information on to the court. This allows the CASA to truly make a difference is the life of the child.
Sen. Bob Dixon, sponsor of the bill, stated, "With this bill, we tap the strong charitable spirit of Missourians to drive local efforts to help Missouri's neediest citizens. It encourages individuals to give locally and support their friends and neighbors who are on the front lines helping others."
LINDA NASH, executive director,
Court Appointed Special Advocates of
Southeast Missouri, Inc., Cape Girardeau