CASA reaches 10 year mark of local service
Special to the Citizen
Since 1998, the network of CASA programs throughout Georgia has advocated for the best interests of thousands of abused and neglected children. In fact, in 2007 alone, over 1,800 volunteers served over 9,250 children in Georgia.
Georgia CASA is celebrating 20 years of service across the state of Georgia, and Ocmulgee CASA will celebrate 10 years of service in the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit. Our circuit is the largest east of the Mississippi River and includes eight counties. The counties are; Baldwin, Putnam, Jones, Jasper, Morgan, Greene, Wilkinson, and Hancock. Presently, Ocmulgee CASA is serving children in all of our eight counties. CASA in the Ocmulgee Circuit has followed the same mission for the past 10 years- to recruit, screen, train, and supervise community volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children involved in juvenile court deprivation proceedings.
In 2007, according to “Child Welfare in Georgia” or House Bill 1406, Georgia’s Child Protective Services received 92,184 reports of deprivation. Of those 14,402 were screened out (determined to be unwarranted of an investigation) and 27,632 were referred to other service providers rather than opening an ongoing case.
The remaining 50,150 were accepted to receive some form of service from the agency. A total of 74,890 children were involved in these investigations of maltreatment. Of these children, 9,145 entered foster care.
Once in foster care, children are placed in an emergency shelter, with a fit-and-willing relative, in a foster or group home or an institution (in situations that require an additional level of care and supervision).
There were 22,123 children in the state’s custody at some point during 2007. Ocmulgee CASA served 828 children in the eight counties since their inception and approximately 236 children in 2007. While in care many of these children wait for their parents to achieve the skills necessary to properly care for them or correct the behavior that caused the deprivation to occur. “It is often difficult to make decisions on the lives of our children without the input from the CASA volunteer,” said Ocmulgee Juvenile Court Judge, Philip B. Spivey who has been a supporter for CASA from the beginning. CASA Volunteers across Georgia, take the information they gather through their investigations and provide comprehensive, objective reports to the juvenile courts so judges have the information necessary to make decisions with the best interests of each child. “Most cases take you into the lives of children who desperately need someone who simply cares and is interested in them,” says Richard Cousins, CASA volunteer in Greene County. If you are looking for a rewarding, and sometimes challenging way to better the lives of children in our society consider becoming a CASA volunteer in the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit. Ocmulgee CASA needs volunteers in all of the eight counties! We have training starting in September so contact us at (478) 452-9170 or e-mail us at email@example.com. Make a difference in the world by making a difference in the life of a child.