Eleven local people recently completed training and were sworn-in to become volunteer CASA advocates for children in foster care. The Honorable Judge John McCraw, Jr. administered the oath to the new volunteers as he was the visiting judge filling in for 336th District Judge Lauri Blake. New child advocates include Debbie Irvin, Nancy Burpo, Wendi Lindsey, Paula Chambers, Morgan Kelso, Heather Molsbee, Alice Creecy, Kaylen Hutchins, Kelly LeBrun, Shawn Look and Mike Nejtek.
“We are thrilled to welcome this large group of advocates to our team,” said Sandy Barber with the Fannin County Children’s Center, which includes the local CASA program.
“Nearly all of the new advocates will be accepting cases immediately, which will bring us back to serving 100% of our cases with volunteers,” said Barber. “Our CASA caseload has been growing and we have been working hard to keep up with the increasing demand.”
In the year ending August 31, 2016, CASA served 83 children. This number has more than doubled in the last two years. In the first six month of the current fiscal year, CASA has already served 92 children.
All volunteers completed an intensive training class which prepares them to serve as Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for children who have been removed from their home due to abuse and neglect. The district judge appoints CASA volunteers to serve as the Guardian ad Litem for each child who has been placed in the state’s custody. In that role, CASA advocates investigate the child’s situation, prepare written reports to the court and advocate for the child’s best interest in court hearings and other settings.
CASA is one program of several programs for abused and neglected children that are operated by the Fannin County Children’s Center. For more information on becoming a CASA, call (903) 583-4339 or go here