These individuals speak for a child’s interest in court in abuse and neglect cases.
Frederick, Md. (KM). More volunteers are always needed by CASA, which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate. These people speak on behalf of abused and neglected children whose cases end up in court. “It’s intense to be involved in these proceedings, and to learn about the sad histories, but also to engage with trying to help to find solutions so the child can end up in a safe and permanent home,” says Jen Fuss, the CASA Program manager art the Mental Health Association of Frederick County..
Part of that, she says, includes getting to know the child and become familiar with her or her situations. “You just build familiarity between the person whose making these heavy decision and that child, that family. So I think that really helps,” Fuss says.
But getting that close to a child is not easy. “We’re information gatherers. We want to hear from everybody. We want to know what everybody’s perspective is. And that can be kind of difficult to the caregivers, particularly the birth parents,” says Fuss.
Anyone whose interested in becoming a CASA volunteer should be at least 21 years of age. No legal background is necessary. “The training includes a lot of information and practice around the decision making,” says Fuss.
Citizens who are interested can call 301-663-0011.
Those who can’t volunteer should consider becoming a Board member, a corporate partner, a friend of CASA, make a financial contribution or organize a fundraiser.
CASA was established in 2001 by then-Circuit Court Judge Ed Dwyer and several concerned citizens and professionals who believed that abused and neglected children in Frederick County needed a program to make sure that these kids ended up in safe and permanent homes. . CASA serves about 70 children per year.
By Kevin McManus