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Malheur CASA scrambles for volunteers to speak for kids

A foster child sports favorite purple boots at a party held recently for children in the system. (Malheur Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Bettye Ramirez is a feisty grandmother who keeps a close eye on foster children in Malheur County.

She’d like some help.

Ramirez runs the local program that gives children an adult whose task is to be sure the system works for them.

This is Malheur County CASA, which relies on volunteers to serve as court-appointed special advocates.

These specially-trained adults have significant legal authority to run interference for the child to make sure he or she doesn’t get lost in a complex, cumbersome system.

The volunteers have access to anyone who knows the child – parents, siblings, teachers, counselors and more.

They watch out for unmet needs . . .