Community with Carol: Candace Lingo of Cullman County CASA


Carol Berry, left, with Candace Lingo, right

Every story I have done for Community with Carol has been a joy.  My guest this week is no different, Candace Lingo, with Cullman County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), shared so much wonderful information. I was so impressed with her love for others and her willingness to serve.

Candace was very open about why she came to Cullman County CASA in 2014 as a volunteer; in 2017 she became the case manager.  Her education in childhood development, her time working as a preschool teacher and her own turbulent childhood gave her the tools, experience and education needed to be perfect for the job.   

If you are like me and had no idea what CASA was, the video interview (see below) will showcase the ways this local branch of a national organization touches the lives of children.  Candace is an advocate for children forced into a system by no fault of their own. She and her team were the eyes, ears and voice of eight percent of the cases involving Cullman County children removed from their homes due to neglect or abuse in 2017.  Her goal for 2019 will be to assist 30 percent. This is a huge commitment, but after meeting this incredible young lady I feel she can accomplish it.   

CASA is an organization that assists a guardian ad litem (GAL) (a person the court appoints to investigate what solutions would be in the best interests of a child) and the Cullman County Department of Human Resources (DHR). They are not there to take the place of either but to assist in any way needed to give the child the best possible help.  As Candace explained the process to me and gave me data on the caseloads for each of the above court resources, I can see how CASA would be of great assistance. 

Candace’s goal is to increase volunteers. She has doubled what she started with and continues to grow.  By doing this she can keep her case load at two per volunteer.  This gives full attention and support to those children.  She can only do this with your support; she needs more volunteers.  

The CASA office is a division of a well-known local nonprofit, Cullman Caring for Kids.  The program is supported by Cullman County District Judge Kim Chaney and Cullman County District Judge Rusty Turner.  Each volunteer must complete 35 hours of training and is sworn in by one of the local Judges.  

I am thankful for young individuals like Candace who are making a huge impact on my community at such a young age.   If you are interested in this program give Candace a call at 256-739-1111 or go by her office on 402 Arnold St. NE Suite W-1 in Cullman.

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