Tri-County Court Appointed Special Advocates, a non-profit organization that trains volunteers to become advocates for abused and neglected children in Juvenile Court, is seeking volunteers to begin its spring training program March 8. The training will be at the Appling County James Clark Extension Education Center, which is located directly behind the Baxley/Appling County Public Library. The training will begin on Thursday, March 8 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and on each consecutive Thursday through April 26. CASA’s goal is to provide an advocate for every child that comes through the Juvenile Court system in deprivation court proceedings.
CASA volunteers work for what is in the best interest of the child. The advocates provide another set of eyes and ears to the court. They also work with other agencies; however, the CASA volunteer‘s focus is on the child and his/her best interest. The goal is to help find a permanent home that is safe, stable, loving and permanent.
A CASA volunteer completes 40 hours of training before entering a courtroom to advocate for a child. Advocates in training learn about laws affecting children, about the agencies they will be working with, about child abuse and neglect and about child development. They also learn interviewing skills, about court procedures and how to write the report they submit to the court. CASA volunteers commit to one year of service. Most volunteers accept two or three cases and stay with the case until it is closed or until the child has found a permanent home.
A CASA volunteer must be 21 years or older; must submit a written application, including four personal/professional references; must submit to a criminal records check and federal fingerprint check; have a personal interview by local CASA staff; attend 40 hours of training; commit to one year to the program; and must be sworn in by a juvenile court judge as an official of the court.
The most effective volunteer understands how to balance emotional sensitivity with objectivity. It’s not an easy job, but it is rewarding and an investment in a child’s life and in turn, an investment in our communities. Currently, Tri-County CASA has 17 active volunteers in Appling, Jeff Davis and Wayne Counties. The program is seeking more volunteers to serve children who do not have a CASA advocate at this time. To request information or apply to be a volunteer, please call the CASA office at (912) 367-0064 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.