Savannah Woman Becomes Child Advocate Because of Baby Aiden - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Savannah Woman Becomes Child Advocate Because of Baby Aiden

Dianne Tschabrunn watched WTOC's coverage on baby Aiden and immediately signed up to be a volunteer advocate for abused and neglected children. Dianne Tschabrunn watched WTOC's coverage on baby Aiden and immediately signed up to be a volunteer advocate for abused and neglected children.

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Baby Aiden was abused not once, but twice.  Investigators said it happened at the hands of his parents. So did the now 11-month-old fall through the cracks of system and could more have been done to prevent the abuse?

In Chatham County, there are a group of volunteers who stand up for abused children, they are called CASAs, or Court Appointed Special Advocates.

Dianne Tschabrunn watched WTOC's coverage on Aiden and was so outraged, she immediately signed up to be one of those volunteers. "It was just heart wrenching to realize someone could do that to their child and that one person can make a difference and I know that," she said.

Tschabrunn is one of eight people from our community who took a oath today to protect children who are abused and neglected. Chatham County Juvenile Court chief judge John Beam had the honor of making them official court appointed special advocates.

Tschabrunn said she has done volunteer work before, but nothing like this. "Seeing the Aiden case on the news really appalled me and it made me get up and do something in the community," she said.

She also heard on the news that CASA needed help and now she's one of a hundred volunteers in Chatham County. Director Renee Crawford said they are always in need of more. "It sounds like a lot, however when you have over 400 children that are referred each year, it's not enough," said Crawford.

The volunteers had to complete an intensive training program and sit in on juvenile hearings. They are assigned cases by the court and work hand in hand with the Department of Family and Children Services.

These new advocates will handle cases similar to Aiden's abuse. Some were handed a case file just minutes after the swearing in. Crawford said, "There are going to be cases of drug addicted parents, parents not rehabilitated at the moment, they are going to see cases with children with broken bones and scar fractures that are unexplained."

There's no question it will be a difficult, emotional job and remember there's no pay involved. "I think in some cases I'm sure it will be really tough," said Tschabrunn. "But I really want to make a difference and I really want to be there for children."

Today she took a big step in making that a reality.

CASA has three more training opportunities this year in April, June and October. For more information on becoming a volunteer, call CASA at 912.447.8908 or visit their website at http://savannahcasa.org.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com

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