CASA uses technology to swear in volunteers

FROM STAFF REPORTS

The Shelby County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) used technology for the first time in their 23-year history to swear in five new volunteer advocates on July 21.

Normally done as a special ceremony performed in the courthouse in Judge Jim Kramer’s chambers, a new plan was put in place due to COVID-19, which made it impossible for the swearing ins to take place in person.

“In our 23-year history our goal to prevent child abuse and neglect has never changed, but now COVID-19 has made us change some of the ways we do it,” CASA Executive Director Beth Chapman said. “We have had to adapt in many ways, and cut back in others, but not in our service to the abused and neglected children in our community. We will always find a way to serve them and meet their needs.”

CASA is a non-profit organization whose goal is to prevent child abuse and neglect. They also recruit and train volunteers to go through the court process with children who have been abused and neglected. In addition, they offer free parenting classes to the Shelby County community.

Once a volunteer goes through CASA’s five-week training program, they are sworn in by Family Court Judge Jim Kramer as official officers of the court. They are then assigned a court case and follow that case throughout its entirety—approximately one year.

They become the “eyes and ears” of the court going into the homes of the children they serve, providing valuable information to the judge that he cannot get otherwise.  They also become that child’s “voice” in court and advocate for their best interests. The ultimate goal of CASA is to ensure that every child has a safe and permanent home.

CASA of Shelby County is funded in part by the Children’s Trust Fund, a Shelby County Community Grant, EBSCO, VOCA and other concerned citizens and corporate partners.

For more information of how you can become a CASA Volunteer visit Casaofshelbycounty.org.