OLYMPIA -- Thurston County is looking for some special volunteers to assist children in certain court cases. Children who are in the dependency process need a voice in court to help them find a safe, permanent home in an efficient manner. They need an advocate to share with the court what the child wants and what is in the child's best interest.
The Thurston County Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program was first created in 1991, following a yearlong study of similar programs throughout the state. The program began with a core group of 14 highly trained volunteers and now has roughly 40 active members working with 110 dependent children primarily between the ages of 1-6. CASA Volunteers can be assigned one or several cases.
Court Appointed Special Advocates are trained volunteers who are asked by a Judge to find out what is in the best interests of an abused or neglected child. Volunteer advocates carefully research the child's world and make recommendations to the Court. The vision of CASA is to ensure that every child has a safe, supportive, and permanent home. A CASA volunteer works as an official part of the judicial proceedings, working alongside attorneys and social workers as the "voice of the child" in court proceedings.
CASA volunteers are required to attend approximately 30 hours of pre-service training, which includes classroom, observation and mentoring hours, and 12 hours of in-service training annually. The next scheduled training is August 10th, 11th, 17th, 18th.
Thurston County CASA Program is now in great need of new volunteers. If you, or someone you know may be interested in becoming a CASA volunteer, or may need more information or an application, please contact Wendy Mayo (MAY- O) at (360) 709-3231.