WJHL.com - CASA in need of volunteers, upcoming advocacy training

CASA in need of volunteers, upcoming advocacy training

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Northeast Tennessee is in need of local volunteers to be the voice of an abused and neglected child in our community. There are currently over 30 children waiting on a volunteer to ensure they are in a safe, permanent home by making sure their needs are being met through the court and children's services.

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Northeast TN will provide advocacy training starting with an information session on Tuesday, January 28th from 5:30-6:30pm at the Johnson City Chamber of Commerce Building, 603 E. Market Street Johnson City, TN 37601. CASA staff will inform interested community members about volunteer opportunities at CASA of Northeast TN. This training will prepare individuals to become advocates for CASA, allowing them to participate in court appointed cases and to speak up for an abused and neglected child.

  Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Northeast TN is an independent nonprofit 501(c) 3 organization that serves abused and neglected children in the Juvenile Court of Washington, Unicoi and Greene Counties and the Juvenile Court of Johnson City. Dedicated community volunteers are a voice for these children who find themselves caught in the judicial system through no fault of their own. CASA advocates are appointed by the judge to gather facts in child abuse/neglect cases to provide information, so that the child can receive services that will meet their individual needs. CASA's primary goal is to see that these children are in a safe, permanent home as quickly as possible.

In 2013, CASA served over 400 children through dedicated advocates in the Juvenile Courts of Washington, Unicoi, and Greene Counties and the Juvenile Court of Johnson City. In this same year, there were about 600 children in these juvenile courts because of abuse/neglect and custody issues. CASA needs community members to "speak up" for these children so that each child who needs advocate can have one. On average, advocates spend 10-15 hours per month on a case.

Each year in our community thousands of children fall victim to abuse and neglect. These children can face years of being shuffled between placements as they face the local court systems that hold the fate of their future. Often times the placements they call "home" only bring more abuse and neglect. These children desperately want to be part of a family to experience what is left of their childhood.  As a community we have a responsibly for these children, often too young, disabled and unsure of how to speak up for their needs and rights.  The children never asked to be held captive in a life of abuse, and all they seek is a safe, permanent home.

If interested in learning more about CASA or to apply for the training sessions, contact Lauren Pealor or Emily Tester, Program Coordinators, at 423-461-3500, email pealor@casanetn.org; tester@casanetn.org or visit our website at http://www.casanetn.org.

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