MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ohio (WDTN)- In December 2019, ten-year-old Takoda Collins was murdered after years of abuse and torture at the hands of his father and two other women.

Following the sentencing of these people in relation to this case, child advocates in Montgomery County are sharing that they are seeing a troubling trends of cases like this one rising. But they want people to know that Court Appointed Special Advocates (or CASAs) are available to help make sure every child feels safe and secure if facing legal battles.

Jane Novick, attorney and CASA program manager says the Montgomery County program is the most diverse in Ohio out of 50 programs, with more than 125 CASA volunteers from all backgrounds.

Their main focus, according to Novick, is to be neutral advocates for the child’s needs during legal issues between parents and families. She says the CASAs are often the only constant, or trusted source for these children in the system.

“I’m surrounded by people who will fight like anything if they think that there is something not good for the child,” said Novick.

Novick says in Takoda’s case, he was not able to have a CASA.

“[His case] never became a Children’s Services case,” she explained. “To get a CASA, you need to have a case officially opened. Then, what would have happened is that CASA would have demanded to go inside the house because that’s what we do.”

Novick says more resources, more support and more CASA volunteers could make the difference for Montgomery County’s children

“The problem is, we need a lot more CASAs, we need a tremendous number more of them,” said Novick. “I think the more support we can bring in for these families before it becomes a major problem…that to me is the greatest solution.”

To learn more about Montgomery County CASAs, click here.