NORTHEAST OKLAHOMA — A local organization is asking for help to bring more attention to abused and neglected children throughout Oklahoma.
“Definitely more children in foster care that can have an advocate assigned to them than there are advocates available,” said Mark Ogle, NEO CASA Resource and Marketing Coordinator.
And to help combat that problem CASA of Northeast Oklahoma is doing its 2nd annual Paper Doll Project. It was created to help bring awareness to children in the foster care system.
“Last year here in Delaware County, we were looking at 21 or 20 cases, and you were doing that with an average of six active advocates. And we try to have one advocate per child, which, as you can see, it doesn’t work out. So some of them are taking two,” said Ogle.
Throughout the month of October, businesses, churches, and volunteers from Delaware, Ottawa, Rogers, and Mayes counties will be making a symbolic gesture — fostering life-sized wooden dolls.
“It’s a fun way of a very serious issue because obviously we can’t show a real foster child’s face. Dress them, display them, which brings awareness to the plight of foster children. And then the money is used to allow us to recruit and train more advocates. The court can then appoint to the children,” said Ogle.
The clothes will also be put to good use — they will be donated directly to the children within the Northeast Oklahoma foster care system.
“It takes a village basically to raise kids nowadays. And so we wanted to be part of this. I think it’s a very special project,” said Ann Bailey Notable Outdoor Living Owner.