Reading, Berks County, On Thursday, January 17, 2019 the Hon. Mary Ann Ullman will swear in 9 volunteers as CASA volunteers (Court Appointed Special Advocates) for abused and neglected children.
Family and friends will gather in the Berks County Courthouse 5th floor to watch the volunteers take an oath promising to advocate for the best interest of the child.
The newly appointed CASA volunteers join the ranks of 41 current CASA volunteers here in Berks who have been trained and are advocating for foster children in the county’s juvenile dependency court system. As officers of the court, they ensure that the children’s needs are recognized and best interests are considered both in the courtroom and in the community.
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 with the child and report their findings to the judge.
“Our volunteers pledge to stay with each child until the case is closed, and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home,” said Lisa AM Unrath, director of the CASA of Berks County www.CASABerks.org. “The advocate is often the only consistent adult presence in the child’s life.”
With more than 600 children waiting for a CASA volunteer, many more advocates are still needed. There are no prerequisites for becoming a CASA volunteer other than being at least 21 years of age, clearing an extensive background screening and successfully completing 30 hours of training.
The next advocate training session for Berks County begins March 2019. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a CASA volunteer and the rewards that come along with serving as the voice of a child, please contact Christa Yeager at [email protected] or 484.509.4206.
The CASA of Berks is a member of the National CASA Association, a network of more than 900 CASA programs serving children in 49 states and Washington DC.