GC Juvenile Court looking for CASA volunteers


XENIA — The Greene County CASA Program is now accepting volunteer applications for its spring training session which is scheduled to begin Tuesday, April 4 and run through Thursday, May 11.

According to its website, CASA volunteers are comprised of compassionate adults who are willing to fight for and protect a child’s right to be safe, to be treated with dignity and respect, and to learn and grow in the safety of a loving family. Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) advocate for the best interest of children who have experienced abuse or neglect.

The CASA program, which started in 1996, has been around 27 years and and has a total of 41 volunteers. Volunteers must be at least 21, not be a foster parent in Greene County, and pass a national and state background check.

The six-week training course covers one Tuesday night a week from 6-9 p.m. and attendance in a Google class room on the other days.

After completing training, volunteers are appointed by judges and stay with the case until it is closed and the child is in a safe, permanent home. They work directly with the child, child welfare professionals, educators, and service providers to ensure that they have the information they need to make the most well-informed decisions for each child.

“Once approved, we ask them to make a two-year commitment from the begging to the end of the process,” said Greta McKenzie, program director. “We follow national CASA standards. Working with Children’s Services, it can take 22 months for a parent to get their child back. We continue to stay with that child until they are emancipated or adopted. Once you lose your parental rights, you lose them forever.”

Some of the courses/topics discussed during training include: learning the juvenile court process, court policies/procedures, child welfare laws, what is in the child’s best interest, what does child abuse/neglect mean, how to interview a family to determine their strengths and weaknesses, domestic violence, child development, childhood trauma, what does Children Services do, and advocating for LGBT youth.

“Most of my volunteers work full time at regular jobs,” McKenzie said. “Volunteers must be available for court hearings. We are not decision makers but make recommendations to the judge or magistrate. We are considered the eyes and the ears of the child in the court,” she explained.

For more information, email [email protected], visit https://www.greenecountyohio.gov/433/CASA, or call 937-562-4040.

Reach Karen Rase at 937-502-4534.

No posts to display