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!
Chelsea DeWaters, Program Manager706email@example.com
Diane Green, Volunteer Supervisor706firstname.lastname@example.org
Sophia Golliher, Volunteer Supervisor706email@example.com
Yvonne French, Volunteer Supervisor706firstname.lastname@example.org
Tracy Harmon, Volunteer Outreach Coordinator706email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/murraywhitfieldcasa