SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Savannah’s Brightside Child & Family Advocacy is recruiting and taking applications for its upcoming six-week training program that will start Aug. 18.

“The training is to prepare volunteers to become court-appointed special advocates. They will get all of the training they need to have a better understanding of the child welfare system and the juvenile court,” said Kate Blaire, Executive Director of Brightside Child and Family Advocacy.

Kate Blair, Executive Director of Brightside Child and Family Advocacy. Photo provided by Blair.

The training will also include interacting with a group and learning how to advocate together and court observations.

“After they complete their training, they swear in with the judge and then they are assigned a case, which is typically a child or a sibling group in foster care,” Blair said. “They will then get to advocating for them within the system.”

This opportunity is for those who are 21 or older and have a passion for helping the community’s most vulnerable, children who have experienced abuse or neglect and often don’t have any stable adults in their lives. Blair shares what she considers an ideal candidate.

“Somebody that not only wants to build a relationship with a child in that kind of experience in that level of trauma but someone who is curious and willing to investigate and to be able to provide great recommendations so that all the child’s needs are met. And that child can achieve permanency whether it’s going home to parents, or being adopted, or living with family members.”

She continued, “It’s really just that passion for children and that sticking to it. Sometimes the children are experiencing trauma so sometimes they aren’t going to be as responsive and make you feel as good as you want, so, just believe you can stick by that child and want to be in their life so they have someone.”

Those interested in the training can click or tap here. After an application is submitted there will be an interview to make sure applicants are a good fit.

“They get to talk with us and figure out if it will work with their life and schedules. It’s not your normal volunteer opportunity,” Blaire said. “It’s 40 hours of training so it’s far more intense than the average volunteer opportunity so we want to make sure they have the capacity and the commitment to serve a child because we don’t want the child to have multiple CASA volunteers assigned to them, we want them to have one while they’re in foster care so that there’s not another person coming in and out of their life.”

The training will be on Thursdays from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in Savannah. A location has not yet been determined.

Brightside Child & Family Advocacy provides a wide range of services aiming to prevent child abuse and neglect in Chatham County.