The Court Appointed Special Advocate Program of the Family Court is expanding its efforts to represent the interests of abused and neglected children. The program is seeking qualified adults to serve as CASA volunteers.
CASA volunteers are trained members of the community who are appointed by Family Court judges to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in court proceedings. As an official of the court, the CASA volunteer conducts an independent investigation into the child’s life and provides information and recommendations to the judge. CASA volunteers collaborate with attorneys, social workers and family members to reach the goal of a safe and permanent home for each child.
CASA volunteers have varied professional, educational and ethnic backgrounds. They are selected on the basis of their objectivity, competence and commitment. Casework supervision is provided by full-time program coordinators while program attorneys provide legal advice and represent the CASA in court proceedings. Each volunteer accepted into the program must complete all three half-days of initial training.
The next training session is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Friday, Oct.11; 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 25; and 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 15 at Family Court in Georgetown. Completed applications should be submitted well before the first training date so program officials have ample time to process. Those who cannot attend this training session will be able to schedule another one after January 2014.
In 2012, Sussex CASA volunteers handled 121 cases, advocating for more than 163 children. While these statistics are impressive, many of Delaware’s abused and neglected children still have no independent voice in court.
For more information about becoming a CASA, contact Lauren Brueckner at Sussex County Family Court CASA program, 302-855-7410 or firstname.lastname@example.org.