Comfort Zone to help children during traumatic time

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

Children who are suddenly taken out of their home by the Department of Child Services will likely be placed in an office setting while the caseworker looks for an emergency placement home.

The children could sit there for an hour, or for many hours.

“This can be a traumatic time in a child’s life,” said Deena Hubler, head of Dubois County’s Court-Appointed Special Advocates.”We want to give them a little bit of comfort.”

CASA is planning to enclose the carport at its office in Jasper to create a new room called a Comfort Zone. It will be a place where children can go to do activities with trained and qualified volunteers while the caseworker is working in another part of CASA’s office.

“It would be a room where the children can come,” Hubler said. “There would be your food. If they need to, they can take a shower. They can get a clean blanket and a clean pillow. They choose a book. And then they would not be in the same room with the case manager while she is trying to find a place for them.”

The caseworker would still be in the building just in case he or she is needed to comfort the children. But mainly, the volunteers will be there to spend time with the kids.

“Our volunteers would be taking care of the child, whether that’s watching a movie, or reading a book, or playing cards, or playing a game, or feeding them,” Hubler said.

The volunteers will be different from CASA volunteers. But they still go through the different checks, like background checks, to make sure they are eligible to serve as a volunteer, Hubler said.

The Department of Child Services wholly supports the idea. And the City of Jasper, which owns the building, has agreed to allow the carport be enclosed.

CASA will use $21,000 in grant funding it received from 100 Men Who Cook to cover the construction costs for creating the space. Furnishings for the room will be purchased using $3,900 from CASA’s endowment through the Dubois County Community Foundation.

Last week, the Dubois County Council established a designated fund called the Comfort Zone Fund for the money that will be used for the project. The fund will remain for future grants for the room, as well as for donations the public wants to make for the room.

There will be ongoing needs for different supplies, such as food, baby wipes and diapers, Hubler said. She has heard from some local groups that are interested in donating and is willing to talk to others about the Comfort Zone.

“I’m excited that Dubois County can take this extra step to do something good for our kids,” she said.

To donate, contact Hubler at CASA, 812-639-0143. Dubois County CASA also has a Facebook page.




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