Mayor Cathy Clark declared April Child Abuse Prevention Month at a meeting of the Keizer City Council Monday, April 5.

Shaney Starr, executive director of Keizer-based CASA of Marion County (Court-Appointed Special Advocates), gave a brief presentation before accepting the proclamation. CASA volunteers are specially trained to advocate for the best interests of children who have been traumatized by abuse or neglect to make sure they are safe and thrive.

“This past year we realized the role of frontline mandatory reporters and the critical part they play in intervening in cases of child abuse and neglect,” Starr said.

In 2019, there were 13,674 confirmed victims of child abuse and neglect throughout Oregon. In Marion County alone, there were 1,238. Roughly 6% of the cases involved children under the age of 6.

“This year, we want to paint our town blue,” Starr continued. “Wear blue to show support and partner with local organizations because together we can keep children safe.”

CASA of Marion County hosts regular training sessions, which are now all online and virtual as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Training takes about 30 hours and then we ask that the volunteers commit eight to 12 hours each month working on their assigned case,” Starr said.

For more information, or to volunteer, visit casamarionor.org.