CASA volunteer training this September (Updated)

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The Cullman County CASA office is located next to Cullman Caring for Kids. (Sara Gladney for The Cullman Tribune)

Updated 8-30-22

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) work to provide the best outcomes for children in the court system. Advocates are appointed by the juvenile court to recommend the best interest of a child/teen who has been abused and neglected.

Whether this means helping make a connection with adoptive parents or safely reuniting the child with parents or relatives, the ultimate goal of CASA volunteers is to help ensure that each of the children served can live in a safe, permanent home.

CASA volunteers review records, research information and talk to everyone involved in each case, including social workers, attorneys, judges, parents, teachers, family members and the children themselves.

A new round of CASA volunteer training starts Friday, Sept. 9 at 10 a.m. at the CASA office (402 Arnold St. NE, Ste. W-1, in Cullman). For five weeks, training will be held once a week for four hours. Applicants need no prior experience. After being sworn in by a judge, CASAs are required to complete 12 hours of continued education each year.

Cullman County CASA Case Manager Candace Lingo said advocates make a significant difference in the lives of parents and children.

“We help in making a case finish faster and making sure that the children are receiving the services that they need,” she said. “We also help identify additional resources for the parents that might not be required by DHR so that the parents can finish their case plan goals quicker. We also build a relationship with the child and make them feel heard in court.”

So far this year, CASA has served 58 children in the area, which Lingo says is fewer than normal. Last year, the organization worked with 90 children. CASA currently has an average of 17 advocates.

“There is a huge need for CASAs in Cullman,” said Lingo. “The more CASA volunteers we have, the more children we are able to help.”

To apply, email Lingo at cullmancountycasa@msn.com or go to https://al-cullman.evintosolutions.com/VolunteerApplication. Learn more about the program at www.cullmancaringforkids.com/casa.html.

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