TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. – More and more children are caught in the middle of Tippecanoe County's drug epidemic.
That's one reason Tippecanoe County Court Appointed Special Advocates or CASA is asking the county for a fifth full time staff advocate.
While the council's vote on that is pending, the program is also looking for more volunteers.
When it comes to abused and neglected children, words aren't enough.
"We need people to step up to take action," said CASA Executive Director Coleen Connor.
Stan Kappes has stepped up as a CASA volunteer for years.
"We are able to help teach parents how to become parents and in some cases they do," said Kappes.
It's not for the faint of heart.
"Some of the decisions I've had to make are difficult," added volunteer Sue Magnante. "It's never a happy situation."
Kappes said there's so much that they teach you about how to look at things other than how you've ever had to look at them before. But you're not alone.
"I have a phenomenal supervisor and director and they will help you in any way they can," said Magnante.
Connor said they need more volunteers now more than ever. The growing drug epidemic is increasing the number of children in the system.
"Higher number, and they stay in the system longer," said Connor.
She said that's because of complications due to drug addiction and mental health problems. More volunteers could speed up the process.
"There's a lot of people in this town who can become good parents if they are given the right tools," said Kappes. "That's what this does."
It's something Kappes, Connor, and Magnante hopes more people look into.
"It may not be for you but just make the effort before you say no," said Magnante.
CASA is having an information night for anyone interested in becoming a CASA volunteer on Monday, April 23 from 5:30-6:30 at the Tippecanoe Room at the County Building.
The next class starts Thursday, July 12.