COLUMBUS —Volunteers and leaders from the Preble County CASA Program joined hundreds of child welfare advocates from across Ohio for the 28th Annual Celebrate Kids! Conference in Columbus.
There was a record turnout at the recent three-day event put on by the Ohio CASA/GAL Association, with over 600 people attending for training and discussions.
With over 16,000 children in care in Ohio at any given time, this training is more essential than ever, according to officials.
Volunteers got a wide range of training, including topics like helping children with trauma, navigating the court system and guiding children as they age out of the foster care system.
Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers are appointed by a judge to advocate for a child’s best interest in the court system. These volunteers are community members of all walks of life who commit to engage in the court system and directly help children who are experiencing abuse and neglect.
CASA volunteers serve children in 60 Ohio counties, an all-time high, just like attendance at this conference. Overall, there are 47 CASA/GAL (Guardian ad litem) programs serving nearly 10,000 children in Ohio annually.
The Preble County CASA program launched in 2002, serving children across the community.
“It is heartening to see so many people from across Ohio come together to help children who need it most,” said Ohio CASA Executive Director Doug Stephens. “Training like this is key to making sure children experiencing abuse and neglect have a voice. There are children in every corner of the state that need a CASA volunteer right now.”
Attendees participated in trainings, discussion sessions and more, fulfilling needed training hours to serve as a CASA volunteer or attorney GAL for example.
For further informationon becoming a CASA volunteer call 937-456-2762 or 937-456-2885, or visit https://prebleohiojuvenileprobate.org/programs/casa/.