Three local people recently completed training and were sworn-in to become volunteer CASA advocates for children in foster care. The Honorable Judge Lauri Blake of the 336th District Court administered the oath to the new volunteers. New child advocates include Laura Luke, Jana Garner and Terisa Hill.
“We excited to welcome these people to our team,” said Sandy Barber with the Fannin County Children’s Center, which includes the local CASA program. “They each bring unique skills, experiences and knowledge to our team.”
In the year ending August 31, 2019, CASA served 110 children, which was slightly less than the previous year, but still significantly more than what had been usual.
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 also advocates and monitors to ensure that all of a child’s educational, medical, mental health and other needs are met.
CASA is one program of several programs for abused and neglected children that are operated by the Fannin County Children’s Center. The next training class is set to start in February 2020.