JOPLIN, Mo. — An organization that places volunteers with kids in the foster care system finally has a home of its own. The new facility for Jasper County CASA or Court Appointed Special Advocate, at 2421 East 20th Street in Joplin is nearly complete.

Construction on the 4600-square-foot building began just over a year ago. Since it began in 2019 — it’s operated out of a couple of rooms inside the Advanced Technology and Training Center in Downtown Joplin.

“It is so warm and so fabulous to see our volunteers and kids come in and feel really welcome here and it’s light and it’s bright, very intentionally feels like home, so we love it. We can just make everybody comfortable and it’s a great place to work to support the kids,” said Debi Koelkebeck, Executive Director, Jasper County CASA.

“We recruit volunteers from the community to serve as advocates for children who have been abused and or neglected and are in Foster Care in Jasper County, we provide training and we provide support and supervision for the volunteers who then walk along beside these kids and help them navigate the complex Foster Care system,” said Kelly Hartley, Jasper County CASA Development & Marketing.

“I love being a CASA, I would encourage anyone who has a heart for children and who has some time that they want to devote to absolutely call CASA, get some information. They’ll talk you through it, what the expectations are and answer any questions and I’ll be surprised if you say ‘no’ when you talk to someone,” said Kathy Watson, Jasper County CASA Volunteer.

“So we’re now about 109 advocates and we need to double that, we serve 200 children on average. Each advocate serves two children so right now we’re serving about 200 children and the need is we have 450 to 500 children in Foster Care every night so we really need to double, we need more volunteers,” added Koelkebeck.

The facility will also have a large playground, which will be installed sometime in the near future. Those wanting to learn more about becoming a CASA volunteer can follow this link here.