Local social service organizations give final input to city

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COLUMBIA - Local service organizations answered the Columbia Board of Human Service's final questions before it makes final funding recommendations to the city council Monday. The city will divide nearly $900,000 among the organizations.

All of the organizations provide a type of children's service to the Columbia area, such as emergency housing and after-school programs. Heart of Missouri Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is one of the organizations that applied for funding.

"It felt to me like they were providing me feedback to help me to provide better information to them," said Anna Drake, the executive director for Heart of Missouri CASA. "It only better serves the citizens of Columbia that way."

Heart of Missouri CASA provides advocacy to children involved in child abuse and neglect cases in the courtroom. Drake said the amount proposed to the board would cover almost 50 percent of the child abuse cases in the area. Heart of Missouri CASA is only able to cover 20 percent of the 470 child abuse cases it could cover now.

The board will be contacting the local organizations once it makes its recommendations. The organizations have until November 3 to appeal the board's decision, if necessary.

City Council will have a public hearing on this issue November 18.