The newly formed CASA program, which now falls under the umbrella of Concerted Services, Inc., is seeking local citizens in Brantley, Pierce and Ware to be trained as volunteers for abused and neglected children in foster care.  A Flex (on-line) training class in scheduled for May and seats are filling up fast. Flex Training allows volunteers to study on-line and at their own pace.
The CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) members are volunteers who advocate for abused and neglected children within the juvenile court system by speaking up for the best interest of the child.
Are you considering becoming a CASA volunteer? You do not have to be a lawyer or a social worker. No special background or education is required. CASA welcomes people from all walks of life, all cultures and professions and of all ethnic and educational backgrounds. A good volunteer is one who cares about the well-being of children and has common sense.
All prospective volunteers must pass a criminal background check.
“We ask our volunteers to commit to at least one year of service in order to provide consistency and stability for the children in the program,” said Carlos Nelson, program director.
Volunteers must be at least 21 years old and possess a high school diploma or GED and attend 30 hours of comprehensive training. Once accepted into the program, volunteers receive all necessary training in courtroom procedures, social services, the juvenile justice system and the special needs of abused and neglected children. Once certified and sworn-in by the local juvenile judge to be officers of the court, volunteers are well supported by a professional staff to help them through each case.
Said Nelson, “CASA volunteers listen first … then they act. Volunteers get to know the child by talking with everyone in that child’s life: parents and relatives, foster parents, teachers, medical professionals, attorneys, social workers and others. Volunteers use the information they gather to inform the judge and others of what the child needs and what will be the best interest of the child.”
For more information, visit the CASA office in Waycross at 2100 Riverside Ave., email casa@concertedservices.org or call Carlos Nelson at (912) 809-6072, ext 1042.