XENIA — A Greene County Juvenile Court volunteering program recently was recently awarded a certification by a national association. The Greene County CASA (court appointed special advocate) program was certified by the National CASA Association, which shows that the local program is in compliance with its standards for quality child advocacy.
The local program relies almost entirely on volunteers and exists to give the court system more information in child abuse and neglect cases. When a child is alleged to be abused, the case goes to court and a judge assigns a CASA volunteer to the case to become the court’s eyes and ears. That volunteer becomes an advocate for the child.
That volunteer goes out and collects information about the child and family to bring back to the judge. They’ll speak with those who know the child – the child’s mother, father, foster parents, doctors, teachers and others – and will make a recommendation about the case to the judge based on that information.
The certification process for the program required that it meet about a dozen standards relating to policies and procedures, background checks, data collection, volunteer training and more.
“It’s a big thing,” said Greta McKenzie, director for the Greene County CASA program. “It’s a huge satisfaction to know that our program is successful in advocating for children.”
“The National CASA quality assurance process is very rigorous, and reflects our commitment to ensure every child we serve has the most powerful volunteer advocate working on their behalf,” said Michael Piraino, CEO of the National CASA Association. “This certification says Greene County CASA has demonstrated to us a strong capacity to provide excellent services to the abused and neglected children within their community.”
The Greene County CASA program is currently looking for volunteers. Those interested in volunteering for the program should go to its website or contact volunteer specialist Ashley Bowen at 937-562-4040 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nathan Pilling is a reporter who covers Greene County agencies and organizations. You can find him on Twitter at @XDGNatePilling or you can call him at 937-502-4498.