CASA of the Mid-Shore Ac­cept­ing Ap­pli­ca­tions Now

Dorchester Star - - NEWS -

EAS­TON — Ap­pli­ca­tions from Tal­bot, Dorch­ester, Queen Anne’s, and Kent Coun­ties res­i­dents in­ter­ested in be­com­ing vol­un­teers for CASA (Court Ap­pointed Spe­cial Ad­vo­cates) of the Mid-Shore are be­ing ac­cepted now.

Th­ese vol­un­teer court ap­pointed spe­cial ad­vo­cates for lo­cal chil­dren who are un­der the pro­tec­tion of the Cir­cuit Courts give time, in­sight, and com­pas­sion in an ef­fort to cre­ate last­ing and pos­i­tive change due to abuse, ne­glect, aban­don­ment, or their par­ents’ in­abil­ity to care for them safely.

CASA vol­un­teers are also help­ing Dorch­ester County’s Tru­ancy Re­duc­tion Court by work­ing with chil­dren and fam­i­lies to iden­tify bar­ri­ers to school at­ten­dance.

Tru­ancy poses mul­ti­ple long-term risks to chil­dren. By set­ting re­al­is­tic goals with chil­dren and their fam­i­lies, CASA hopes to help make a pos­i­tive dif­fer­ence in this arena by work­ing with one child at a time.

Th­ese chil­dren face many chal­lenges, of­ten chang­ing schools and fos­ter place­ments mul­ti­ple times. Ev­ery child de­serves in­di­vid­ual ad­vo­cacy re­gard­ing their best in­ter­est, which is where CASA comes in.

Af­ter par­tic­i­pat­ing in screen­ing and Pre-Ser­vice Train­ing, a CASA vol­un­teer is ap­pointed by the court to work with one child at a time.

CASA vol­un­teers get to know the child, iden­tify the child’s needs, re­view records, work with oth­ers in­volved with the child, at­tend court hear­ings, and make rec­om­men­da­tions to as­sist judges in mak­ing de­ci­sions that are in each child’s best in­ter­est.

CASA strives to en­sure that ev­ery child re­ceives needed ser­vices, with the ul­ti­mate goal of see­ing the child placed in a safe, per­ma­nent home.

Along the way, CASA vol­un­teers give chil­dren the mes­sage that their lives are valu­able and that there is rea­son to hope for happy and healthy fu­tures.

CASA vol­un­teer James Pin­kett ex­plains be­ing a CASA in this way, “I re­as­sure my ap­pointed child that I am not re­plac­ing his par­ents. I am there for him, al­ways nearby, to spend time, to lis­ten, to talk. I care about his well­be­ing, his sit­u­a­tion and his fu­ture. Over time that sets a child at ease and he be­gins to re­lax. That’s how I build trust. My heart re­ally smiles when I know he is do­ing well. I see him be­gin to feel hope­ful, be­cause only then can he can start to dream about his fu­ture. To me, to lift up a child’s life, to of­fer hope, trust and safety, only then can that child be­gin to be­lieve in a pos­i­tive fu­ture.”

CASA, an Equal Op­por­tu­nity Em­ployer, wel­comes vol­un­teers from all cul­tures, pro­fes­sions, eth­nic­i­ties, and ed­u­ca­tional back­grounds.{

We have a par­tic­u­lar need for bilin­gual vol­un­teers, male vol­un­teers, and vol­un­teers from mi­nor­ity com­mu­ni­ties. Pre-Ser vice train­ing, a re­quire­ment be­fore one be­comes a CASA vol­un­teer, will take place in early Fall 2020.

To learn more about be­com­ing a CASA vol­un­teer, please visit our web­site at www.casamid­shore.org or call 410-822-2866 ext. 6.

CONTRIBUTE­D PHOTO

Long-time CASA vol­un­teer James Pin­kett has been ded­i­cated to help­ing oth­ers for many years.

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