CASA at Woodlawn has an urgent need for more volunteers who want to positively impact the lives of abused and neglected children by serving as court appointed advocates.
The organization is hosting volunteer advocate training, which consists of court observation, a few in-class sessions and some brief homework.
Training for April’s session will begin 6 p.m. April 10 at the CASA at Woodlawn Office. If you need directions or additional information, please contact Jessica R. Johnson at CASA at Woodlawn.
IN 2007, CASA at Woodlawn provided volunteer advocates for less than 5 percent of cases involving allegedly abused or neglected children. That number grew to approximately 40 percent of cases by 2011.
CASA at Woodlawn’s volunteers spoke for more than 140 children in 2011, but more than 200 more children were waiting for an advocate volunteer.
CASA at Woodlawn volunteers are appointed by family court Judge Bruce Petrie. They speak for the best interests of children in Boyle and Mercer counties who are brought before the court for reasons of abuse, neglect, or dependency.
“(CASA at Woodlawn) just organizes good people and gives them a way to care for others in need,” a current CASA volunteer said. “Watching my CASA kid grow up is the most rewarding thing. I look forward to seeing what he does with his life.”
CASA volunteers serve as friends of the court, working alongside attorneys and social workers. By handling only one or two cases at a time, the CASA thoroughly explores the history of each assigned case.
The volunteer talks with children, parents, family members, neighbors, school officials, doctors and others who might have facts about the case. The volunteer reviews all court facts and documents pertaining to the case.
Volunteers submit formal reports to Judge Petrie at every scheduled hearing. CASA volunteers monitor their cases as they progress to assure the judicial and child welfare systems are moving ahead to secure a safe, permanent home for the child, and that court-ordered services are provided to the child and family.
“Helping abused and neglected children have a good future and seeing just one child take a turn for the better is what I find to be most rewarding as a CASA Volunteer,” advocate Eric Mount said.
CASA at Woodlawn has served Boyle and Mercer counties for 6 years and has grown to 63 fully-trained volunteers who help close cases every year.
Closing a case means a child has been successfully reunified with family members or has been placed in a safe, secure and permanent adoptive home, not languishing in long-term foster care or treatment facility.
CASA at Woodlawn is a Heart of Kentucky United Way partner.