By Shaunteri Skinner and Savannah Brock
Twenty-three New Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) were sworn in under oath to represent foster children on Oct. 15. More than 270 children are in foster care in Athens-Clarke County. Almost a quarter of them still need someone to advocate for them in court. Currently, the program serves less than 60 percent of children in Clarke and Oconee counties.
A CASA volunteer gathers information about a child’s situation, attends court proceedings and makes a written recommendation to the judge so that they can make a decision about that child’s future.
Requirements to become a CASA volunteer:
- Sincerely care for the well-being of children
- Be at least 21 years of age
- Complete an application, including references, interview and a brief autobiography
- Undergo a criminal background check
- Complete 40 hours of training
- Have good verbal and written communication skills
- Have the ability to be objective and non-judgmental
- Be available to attend court hearings
- Commit to CASA program for at least one year or until case is resolved
- Be sworn-in by the judge
The Athens-Clarke County CASAs will begin training more advocates on Jan. 14. Kappa Alpha Theta Philanthropy Chair Gracie Hennelly spoke with Grady Newsource about CASA and one of their members who has been personally affected by the organization.
CASA is Kappa Alpha Theta’s national philanthropy and the UGA chapter will be holding their annual “Boots and BBQ” on Oct. 21 from 5-7 PM on their front lawn. Program sponsors encourage you to visit Athens-Oconee CASA’s website to fill out an application to become a volunteer, to donate or to find out more information.