The second class of Tyler County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) Volunteers were sworn in by Tyler County Circuit Court Judge Mark A. Karl on Monday, Oct. 24.
CASA is a nonprofit organization that trains community volunteers to speak in Court for the best interests of abused and neglected children. The program is accredited by the National CASA Association and serves Ohio, Marshall, Wetzel and Tyler Counties.
Individuals sworn in at a special ceremony held in Judge Karl's courtroom include Patsy Kersteter and Elizabeth Gilligan.
CASA volunteers with Judge Mark A. Karl
Because of an urgent need for CASA volunteers, Kersteter and Gilligan received their first case appointments on this day.
A CASA volunteer acts as a fact finder of the child's best interest, providing a judge with valuable information to help the Court make a sound decision about the child's future.
CASA Executive Director, Susan Harrison states that becoming a CASA volunteer requires a commitment to children, objectivity, responsibility, communication skills and approximately 10-15 hours per month. "Once accepted, volunteers are trained in courtroom procedures, social services, the juvenile justice system and the special needs of children who have been abused and neglected. With the information provided by CASA volunteers, judges are able to make informed decisions as to what is in the best interests of the child," she said.
Harrison continued, "Do you wish you could do more to make a difference in an abused or neglected child's life? Have you been in a sad predicament of working with a child that you suspected came from an abusive home and you felt powerless to make a difference? There is hope for children who have been victims of abuse and neglect. It starts with you. Every child has limitless potential that can only be met with the support of caring adults in their lives. No matter what the circumstances may be, a caring person can make the difference for a child who has been abused or neglected."
More volunteers are needed.
For information, call Harrison at the CASA office at 304-810-0952.