By BRAD KELLAR
Trained CASA volunteers who provide a “voice” in the court system for abused and neglected children are a vital part of the local non-profit organization.
CASA for Hunt County is seeking local citizens who would like to be a part of changing a child’s future.
CASA is an acronym for Court Appointed Special Advocate. When a child is removed from their home due to abuse and/or neglect, the judge in the case appoints a trained CASA volunteer to be his eyes and ears.
The people who volunteer their time to advocate for children come from many walks of life — including retired folks, stay-at-home moms, and people who work full-time.
The next volunteer training course begins Aug. 5 at the CASA office in Greenville. This training course will be conducted during the day. Future courses will be conducted as evening classes.
The 30-hour training course is divided between in-class instruction and independent study that meets Texas CASA curriculum requirements.
Once the training course is completed, the CASA volunteer is sworn in by a local judge and is ready to take the next available case. Most of the CASA’s work is done on his or her own time, including when they make their visits.
The CASA volunteer visits their appointed child or sibling group at least once a month, reviews records, emails and talks with others involved in the case, and reads and writes reports. Some workday meetings in the case include the court hearings and visits between the parents and children (when the CASA observes interaction within the family).
Usually a CASA volunteer will spend an average of 15 hours a month on their case, which typically lasts one year.
The CASA volunteer is the voice for the child, or children, in the court system. Throughout the case, the CASA volunteer advocates for the child’s best interests, and works so the end result is that the child, or children, are placed in a safe, permanent home.
Throughout the case, CASA staff is always ready to answer volunteers’ questions and assist them in many ways.
For information about volunteer training courses, or having CASA staff speak at a club or organizational meeting, call 903-450-4410 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.