CASA volunteers are needed to be advocates for children in foster care. At last check, 15 children in foster care from Fannin County do not have a CASA volunteer advocate. CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates. When home is no longer a safe place for a child, a judge may order a child to be removed from their home and assign CASA to be the volunteer advocate for the child.
The local CASA program in Fannin County has been seeing tremendous growth in the number of children in foster care. In the past, an average year for CASA was to serve 60-80 children. In the fiscal year ending August 31, 2017, CASA served 118 children, which set a new program record. In the current fiscal year, CASA has already served 105 children in 7 months.
Once a volunteer advocate completes training and accepts a case, they will visit the child regularly. They will also talk with parents, other family, teachers, doctors, therapists, caseworkers, attorneys, foster parents and any others involved in their child’s life. Advocates prepare written reports for the court and attend all court hearings in order to make recommendations to the judge about what is in the best interest of the child. Volunteers advocate for all of the child’s educational, medical, mental health and other needs to be met and to help them find a safe, permanent home as quickly as possible.
The next training class is set to begin on June 12. Training classes are held in the evenings and many people who work full-time manage to be a CASA advocate. Applications and interviews must be completed before training starts. More information and volunteer applications are available here