Friday, September 11, 2015

CASA Seeking Volunteers

The CASA staff, volunteers and Special District Judge Matt Orendorff talked about the importance of the organization at a lunch and learn meeting Thursday at Roma's restaurant in Sallisaw.

Susie Massey, CASA program manager, explained CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate. These trained volunteers are assigned to the children in abuse and neglect cases and represent the child or children in the courtroom, where they also make reports to judges in the cases.

Massey said the meeting was to attract new volunteers. She said the local program has 11 volunteers, but 59 new cases were filed last year. Massey said the program would like to double the number of volunteers.

Volunteers undergo 30 hours of training, both at the CASA office at 102 E. Chickasaw (old Agent's building) and in self-guided, online sessions. The last training sessions for this year begin Oct. 22.

Massey said the program usually asks that volunteers who take the training commit to at least one year as a CASA volunteer.

The volunteer talks with the child, parents, family members, social workers, school officials, health providers and others who are knowledgeable about the child's history, they present a report to the judge and speak for the child's best interests in court.

Massey said anyone interested may visit the CASA office at 5 p.m. on Sept. 24 when an open house will be held.  To contact the office beforehand call 918-686-8199.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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