WILMINGTON — This month Clinton County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) was granted full membership with the National CASA/GAL Association.
The full membership is awarded after a program’s first year of operation and fulfillment of the requirements.
Clinton County CASA is one of 47 CASA programs in Ohio that provide their local juvenile court with well-trained community volunteers to advocate for the best interest of children who are caught in the legal system as a result of allegations of abuse or neglect.
Clinton County Juvenile Judge Chad Carey said, “I could not be happier with the first year of success of the Clinton County CASA program. Mrs. Vandervort has done an outstanding job, as have the volunteers who have given thousands of hours of their time to make this program so great.”
Clinton County CASA Director Kim Vandervort said, “I am happy to receive the full membership to National CASA knowing that Clinton County CASA has met the requirements for membership and is in compliance with national standards.”
The requirements for national membership include the development of a Mission Statement and Goal Statement, ethical conduct and confidentiality policies, an inclusiveness and diversity plan, bylaws, volunteer management policies and forms, a social media policy, financial stability, and data entry and retention policies.
CASA volunteers investigate the circumstances behind the child’s allegations; interview parents, siblings, relatives, foster parents, doctors and teachers; visit the child in various settings, review relevant records, and write and submit a report to the court recommending placement and treatment options that are in the child’s best interest.
The Clinton County CASA volunteer inaugural class was sworn in a year ago on Oct. 31, 2016, and began judicial appointments to cases immediately.
Two classes of CASA volunteers were trained in 2017. Currently, 11 CASA volunteers are serving 37 children.
Fifteen children have been reunified with their parents or have been placed in the legal custody of a relative. To date, 52 children have been served by volunteers.
Vandervort now is recruiting volunteers for the training class in March 2018. The process to become a CASA volunteer includes personal interviews, the submission of the application and references, local, state and federal background checks, sex offender registry checks, child abuse registry checks, and completion of the 30-hour pre-service training, plus three hours of court observations.
The Clinton County CASA office is located on the second floor of the county courthouse, and the phone number is 937-383-1137.