ROCKY MOUNT - The Franklin County Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program is recruiting volunteers to serve as advocates for children in our community. CASA volunteers come from all walks of life, educational backgrounds, and professional careers. These individuals are trained community volunteers, appointed by a judge to speak up for children who are involved in judicial proceedings related to abuse, neglect, or children in need of supervision or services. CASA program promote safe, permanent outcomes for the children they serve.
The Franklin County CASA program has served our community for almost 24 years and just last fiscal year, served 125 children. There are currently 28 CASA volunteers advocating for children in our community. Applicant for this program must be 21 years of age, possess mature judgment, and have the ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing. Applicants must be able to interact with people of various educational and ethnic backgrounds. They need to be objective and have a sincere concern for the well-being of children.
Before entering the CASA new recruit training class, a number of local, state, and national background checks will be conducted. Staff will also conduct character reference checks and personal interviews. Individuals entering into the training program will receive 40 hours of intense training related to their volunteer duties and two additional 2 hours of court observation. After being sworn-in they are mentored by an experienced volunteer for their first two cases. All CASA volunteers are asked to make an annual commitment of service.
CASA volunteers should be able to commit to 5-10 hours a month, after new recruit training, and should be able to appear in court for hearings.
While Franklin County CASA volunteers have diverse careers, cultural backgrounds and interests, they all share the desire to make a positive difference in the life of a child, and they all do just that.
“Volunteers with our agency make a true difference in children’s lives,” said Joyce Moran, “and it’s done because it’s the right thing to do, standing up for those less fortunate.”
The role of a CASA is child advocacy. Information is collected and compiled in a report including: case and family history, current family conditions, concerns, and recommendations to ensure children remain safe and have permanent homes. CASAs also assist guardian ad litems, the child’s attorney, monitor each case for compliance with the court’s orders, and report their findings back to the court. All CASAs are mandated reporters of abuse and neglect.
Training begins March 27 th and will be at the Southern Virginia Child Advocacy Center located at 300 South Main Street in Rocky Mount. For more information, on CASA and all our service programs look at our website at www.southernvacac.org. Call 540-484-5566 for more information.