Editor’s Note: This is the seventh of seven stories that have appeared daily in the News Journal on the members of the 2018 Class of the Outstanding Women of Clinton County.
A “Guardian Ad Litem” (GAL) of the Clinton County Common Pleas Court since 1997, Kim Vandervort advises the court on the best interests of children immersed in difficult family situations — including abuse, neglect, and dependency. For her exceptional dedication to improving the lives of such children, she has been nominated to the Outstanding Women of Clinton County class of 2018.
As GAL, Vandervort has advocated on behalf of over 600 children. Some may have been born with a drug addiction. Some may be involved in bitter custody disputes, live in deplorable conditions, or end up as victims of sexual abuse or domestic violence. Or they may be in trouble through the Juvenile Court.
Whatever their situation, the children she helps are not able to help themselves. As Vandervort’s nominator puts it, “Their world has been turned upside down due to the actions of those around them.”
Though some inevitably result in less-than-perfect outcomes, she nevertheless handles each case independently, thoughtfully, and forcefully. The case-specific recommendations she offers are always meant to optimize the child’s eventual development into a happy, responsible adult citizen.
And she has enjoyed seeing many of her former clients achieve personal growth and success. On many occasions, according to her nominator, Vandervort has been touched by their deep gratitude for all she has done for them.
In 2016, she was asked to implement and supervise a new Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program for Clinton County. Vandervort, says her nominator, “started the program from the ground up and has recruited and trained community volunteers to serve the children of the county.”
To date, 11 CASA volunteers have been trained, and additional volunteers will join their ranks in March of this year. In 2017, she was elected to the Ohio CASA Board for a three-year term, beginning in January, 2018.
In this position, she will be providing valuable guidance to the statewide CASA organization.
A graduate of Miami University with a B.A. degree in Political Science, Vandervort has participated in numerous professional seminars and workshops. As part of the training of new CASA volunteers, she teaches a 30-hour course, with an additional 12 hours of in-service education.
She has also been an active volunteer in the Denver Place Parent Teachers Organization, the Philanthropic Educational Organization Sisterhood, and other organizations.
The Outstanding Women of Clinton County luncheon will be held Saturday, March 3 at the Roberts Centre. The deadline to purchase tickets was Feb. 28. If you have any questions, please call 937-382-2574.