Program seeks volunteers to help child abuse victims

EUGENE, Ore. - Lane County's volunteer-based Kids' FIRST Program provides support to children who are victims of abuse.

The services have expanded since the program started back in 1994, now helping around 700 children each year.

Volunteer coordinator Sarah Weber said the program's Forensics Intervention Response and Support Team is supposed to have five trainees for its program next week. Right now they only have two.

"Our training starts next Wednesday and we just have a lot of space left in it," said Weber. "Without Kids' FIRST, a child have to go up to 6 different places to talk about what happened to them".

The program might cancel the volunteer training initially planned for Wednesday, Feb. 26 because they have only had two new members sign up for their program.

"We're looking for people who are compassionate, who are responsible. It's also really important to understand child abuse assessment is not just about liking kids," said volunteer Leah Hyland. "It's also about understanding resources for counseling and education to help them rebound for the future is very vital."

Volunteers must be 18 years old and pass a criminal background check.