PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota House of Representatives wants judges to have a bit of leeway in cases involving an abused or neglected child who’s being removed from the home.

House members voted 68-0 Wednesday to approve HB 1110 and send it across the Capitol for the Senate to consider.

South Dakota Supreme Court Chief Justice Steven Jensen requested the legislation. The House Judiciary Committee fine-tuned it to read, “If a child has been adjudicated an abused or neglected child and is removed from the child’s home with the child’s parents, guardian, or custodian, the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem or a special advocate if available, and may appoint a guardian ad litem when determined necessary by the court, to represent the best interests of the child and to assist the child’s attorney.”

Representative Jon Hansen, R-Dell Rapids, said state law currently requires judges to appoint special advocates or guardians ad litem in these cases, but there’s no longer enough special advocates to go around.

“We have some deserts throughout our state where there are not CASA volunteers who can help our children,” Representative Taylor Rehfeldt, R-Sioux Falls, said.

CASA refers to court appointed special advocate.

Representative Steven Haugaard, R-Sioux Falls, said the shortage has been significant the past 10 to 15 years. He suggested folks help spread the word.

“There’s just a tremendous lack of volunteers because of everybody’s busy schedules,” Haugaard said. “It’s a good program. I think it’s a good amendment to the statute.”