EATON – Judge Jenifer Overmyer and CASA Director Nancy Grassmann recently reported the Preble County Juvenile Court CASA Program of Eaton has just been awarded certification by the National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association.
This certification recognizes that Preble County Juvenile Court CASA is in compliance with National CASA’s high standards for quality child advocacy.
According to Tara Perry, Deputy CEO/Chief Operating Officer of the National CASA Association, “The National CASA quality assurance process is very rigorous, and reflects our commitment to ensure every child served has a powerful volunteer advocate working on their behalf and a strong program supporting their work. This certification says that Preble County Juvenile Court CASA Program has demonstrated to us the capacity to provide excellent advocacy to the abused and neglected children within their community.”
In 1976, a Seattle judge, concerned over making decisions about abused and neglected children’s lives without sufficient information, conceived the idea of using trained community volunteers to speak for the best interests of these children in court, helping to ensure that they will live in a safe and loving environment. So successful was this Seattle program that soon judges across the country began utilizing citizen advocates. In 1990, the U.S. Congress encouraged the expansion of CASA/GAL with passage of the Victims of Child Abuse Act. Today, there are more than 950 National CASA member programs across the country, with more than 70,000 men and women serving as CASA or Guardian ad Litem volunteers.
According to Overmeyer, the Preble County Juvenile Court CASA Program was started in December of 2002 to assure that children who are neglected, dependent, or abused have a voice in Court. Since 2002, officials said, hundreds of children in Preble County have been “heard” in Court through their CASA volunteer advising the Court of the child’s best interests, always taking into consideration the needs and wishes of the child. In 2014, 18 volunteers served 72 children in the program and more volunteers are needed.
For more information regarding the Preble County Juvenile Court CASA Program, or to ask about volunteering, contact CASA Director, Nancy Grassmann at 937-472-2050.
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