10 week CASA training. Learn how to be a sworn in Court Appointed Special Advocate for a child/children in foster care. You must be 21+ years old, computer literate and have a heart for kids!
Program Director: Chelsea DeWaters
Mission Statement: The CASA program's purpose is to provide court-appointed volunteer advocacy to abused and neglected children. The program's goal is a safe, permanent, nurturing home for every child it serves.
Program: A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is a trained community volunteer appointed by a judge to speak up for the best interests of an abused or neglected child in foster care.
Every child should have a safe, loving and permanent home, but many do not. Each year in Georgia, thousands of children become entangled in the foster care system because they are victims of abuse or neglect. These children are taken from their homes and placed in an overburdened system, and can remain there, their futures uncertain, for months or even years.
Georgia’s CASA Programs provide an innovative cost-effective approach to a very urgent crisis. Community-based CASA programs recruit, screen, train and supervise volunteers to provide advocacy for these victims and an independent source of information for the judge who must decide their future.
CASA volunteers serve as the eyes and ears of the Juvenile Court.
They interview anyone who might be able to shed light on the child’s needs, and then go to court and make recommendations to the judge, based on their independent assessments about what is in the best interests of the child.
They also serve as a source of encouragement and support for the child, visiting him or her in the foster placement, making sure the child is safe, listening to the child’s perspective, wishes, and dreams, and offering mentorship, guidance and affirmation as the child finds his way through this difficult time in life.
The CASA remains that child’s advocate, keeping the focus of the case on the child, until it is permanently resolved, usually either by the child being able to go home or being adopted.
Typically, Murray/Whitfield CASA volunteers handle only 1 or 2 cases at one time so they can take the time to interview everyone involved in the case and prepare a thorough report and recommendation to the court. The CASA volunteer’s only job is to support and speak for the child: to assure that his or her best interests don’t get overlooked while in protective custody and that the child is placed in a safe, nurturing, permanent home as quickly as possible.
Watch the video below to hear staff and volunteers share in their own words what we do and why we do it!
Murray/Whitfield CASA and Family Support Council, Inc. recognize that creating a diverse and inclusive organization is a means toward creation of a more effective and more powerful voice for children in foster care. We strive for an organization that reflects the demographics of our community and of the children we serve. We also work to ensure that everyone who wishes to serve children, no matter their cultural, educational, ethnic or socioeconomic background, is welcome and is empowered with knowledge and experiences to be confident and competent in helping children and families from backgrounds different than their own.
Our need for committed volunteers is critical and constant. In particular, as we hope to engage our entire community in speaking up for children, we look for opportunities to recruit volunteers who are men, from the Latino and African American communities and volunteers who are bilingual, especially in Spanish and English.
Though we are making very intentional efforts to recruit from among the above populations, we ask that everyone consider standing up for a child who needs you most. To us, the most important quality of all in a prospective CASA volunteer is a commitment to making the future better for local families in need. For this reason, we are deeply appreciative of all of our current and past volunteers.
Family Support Council’s commitment to equal opportunity is an important part of our core values. In order to provide the best quality advocacy for children in our community, we believe that we must be responsive to the needs of everyone who may receive or be affected by our services. To that end, our policies, practices and recommendations are administered without discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, gender, gender identity and gender expression, marital status, pregnancy, disability status, military or veteran statues, immigration status, ancestry or national origin.
If you have concerns or questions about our program, or our commitment to the above, please contact CASA Program Manager Chelsea DeWaters, or Family Support Council, Inc. Executive Director, Holly Rice, by calling 706-272-7919.
Chelsea DeWaters, Program Manager706firstname.lastname@example.org
Sophia Golliher, Volunteer Supervisor706email@example.com
Yvonne French, Volunteer Supervisor706firstname.lastname@example.org
Tracy Harmon, Volunteer Outreach Coordinator706email@example.com
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To inquire about becoming a CASA volunteer or to find out how to join our next volunteer training, contact Tracy Harmon at 706-428-7931 or email@example.com
Visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/murraywhitfieldcasa