EATON — The Preble County CASA program – court-appointed special advocates for children who have been abused or neglected – received a nearly $20,000 check from the Ohio CASA Association due to program growth.
“This year, despite challenges presented by restrictions due to Covid-19, the Preble County CASA program increased its volunteer base from 16 to 20 advocates,” said Mary Warrick, Director of the Preble County CASA program. “Additionally, the Preble County CASA program served 91 children in 53 family groups. During the same time period in 2019, the Preble County CASA served 75 children in 42 family groups. While using creative practices due to Covid-19, 16 more children and 11 more family groups were served in 2020 than 2019.”
The Preble County CASA program, through the Preble County Juvenile Court, employs two part-time workers to oversee a network of volunteers who advocate on behalf of children who have been abused or neglected. The nearly $20,000 to the Preble County CASA program is the second installment of monies from the Ohio CASA Association.
Through the grant, the hours of Warrick’s director position increased and a part-time volunteer coordinator position was created, facilitating the hiring of Wendy Aker, a long-time Eaton resident and former CASA volunteer. In the future, a portion of the grant money will be used to purchase signage and additional technology as well as facilitate volunteer trainings.
“Wendy has done an excellent job recruiting and supporting volunteers,” said Warrick. “Her insight as a former volunteer was invaluable during our first-ever completely virtual training. The new volunteers, as well as existing volunteers, felt supported throughout the training process.”
Given the current climate with COVID-19, Aker has decided to retire from her positon as volunteer coordinator. As such, the Preble County CASA program is looking for a qualified person interested in part-time, temporary work. Adhering to confidentiality practices, adeptness working with various personalities, and ability to learn computer software to input data are required.
Additional CASA volunteers are also needed. Trained CASA volunteers are asked to meet with the child regularly and are authorized to interview people in the child’s life such as social workers, attorneys, and teachers. They attend court hearings for the child and report their findings to the Juvenile Judge.
Thanks to the support and effort of several Ohio legislators, including State Senators Rob McColley and Peggy Lehner, the Ohio CASA Association received money from the Ohio General Fund. Previously, the Ohio CASA Association was only one of five state CASA programs that did not receive money from its state general fund.
The Preble County CASA program is a part of the Ohio CASA Association, the only statewide organization supporting all local CASA programs in Ohio, and a member of the National CASA Association, supporting over 900 local CASA program nationwide.
Anyone interested in learning more about becoming a CASA volunteer or part-time, temporary work coordinating CASA volunteers, should contact Warrick at 937-456-2885 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further information can also be found by visiting www.prebcocasa.org.