Yani members learn about CASA program

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The Yani Club met Tuesday, May 3 at the Clinton County History Center. Hostesses were Suzanne Madison and Becky Miller, who had arranged tables with spring bouquets and light refreshments. Ten members and one guest were present.

After a short business meeting, Becky introduced her guest, Tarah Mongold, Executive Director of the Clinton County CASA program.

Tarah recounted the history of CASA — Court Appointed Special Advocate — and explained its purpose and what a CASA/GAL (guardian ad litum) does.

Judge David Soukup started the CASA/GAL program in Seattle in 1977.

The inspiration for the program came to Judge Soukup in 1976. He had insufficient information to make a life-changing decision for a three-year-old girl who had suffered from child abuse. He felt that children who had experienced abuse or neglect needed trained volunteers speaking up in the courtroom for their best interests.

Since 1980 more than 30 Ohio counties have initiated CASA programs, making a dramatic impact on Ohio’s Juvenile Court system.

The Court Appointed Special Advocate is a trained community volunteer appointed by Clinton County Judge Chad Carey to advocate for the best interests of children who have experienced abuse, neglect or dependency.

CASA volunteers are everyday heroes who come from all walks of life and serve as the eyes and ears of the court. CASA volunteers receive 30 hours of training before being court appointed and have at least 12 additional hours of training each year.

To qualify to be a CASA, the applicant must sincerely care for the well-being of children, be at least 21 years of age and pass criminal background checks. Good written and verbal communication skills are necessary as well as the ability to be non-judgmental.

Tarah gave attendees information about how to support Clinton County CASA. New items for families (toys, blankets, books, etc.) may be dropped off at the CASA office in the Clinton County Courthouse, 46 S. South St., Wilmington. Monetary donations can be made to Friends of Clinton County CASA and sent to the CASA office as well.

To apply to be a CASA volunteer, visit www.clintoncasa.org .

At the conclusion of the program attendees enjoyed time for socializing and light refreshments.

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