Members of the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of the Parkland have been sworn by Circuit Court Judge Wendy Wexler Horn.
CASA of the Parkland is a member of the Missouri CASA, and the National Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian Ad Litem (CASA/GAL) Association for Children.
CASA of the Parkland serves St. Francois County and provides advocacy for abused and neglected children in the foster care system. CASA is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization made of community volunteers.
The mission of CASA of the Parkland is to recruit, train, and support community volunteers who assist the court in protecting the best interests of abused and neglected children in St. Francois County.
This year is the local chapter’s first year of operation, and their first training class had 15 new CASA members who wear sworn in at two court sessions this month. The group is currently taking applications and doing interviews for their second training class this fall.
An average of more than 270 children are in foster care in St. Francois County every night. CASA members make it their mission to ensure the children feel as though they are not alone as they make their way through the foster care and court systems.
CASA volunteers get to know the child and talk to everyone involved in the child’s life. They gather information about the child’s education, medical conditions, and prepare written reports to the court. They monitor the child to verify that the child remains safe, with all their needs met until the child is in a safe, permanent home.
As a volunteer, the time commitment is an average of ten hours a month.
CASA volunteers are tenacious, humble, and extraordinary people stepping up to advocate for children.
Volunteers complete 30 hours of pre-service training and three hours of court observation. They attend court hearings, meetings, and other events to provide support and consistency to these children.
Children who have a CASA have shown to do better in school, find a safe, permanent home faster, and are less likely to re-enter foster care.
For more information about CASA, visit www.casaoftheparkland.org.
Bobby Radford is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org