MEIGS COUNTY, Ohio – Children in Meigs and Gallia Counties will have advocates in the cases with a new CASA program.

Nobody longs for a safe and loving family more than a child in foster care. The Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program works with the court system to help make that dream a reality for a child in foster care. All CASAs work on a volunteer basis and are members of the community who have been trained to advocate in court for the best interest of an abused or neglected child. Last year 280,316 abused and neglected children had a CASA volunteer speaking up for their best interests across the country.

The CASA program is launching in Meigs and Gallia counties this year and volunteers are needed to help be a voice for the youth in the two counties.

CASA volunteers work by judicial appointment. They are assigned to a child who is the subject of a court case alleging abuse or neglect, and are asked to help determine the living arrangement that is in the child’s best interest. Some of the duties assigned to the CASAs are:

  • Investigating the circumstances behind a child’s placement in foster care.
  • Interviewing parents, siblings, relatives, foster parents, doctors and teachers.
  • Visiting the child multiple times in various settings.
  • Identifying resources for the child and helping to ensure the child obtains needed services.
  • Reviewing relevant facts of the case.
  • Monitoring and supporting the child as the court case progresses.
  • Writing and submitting a report to the court recommending placement and treatment options that are in the child’s best interest.

To volunteer for CASA, a person do not have to be a lawyer or a social worker. Volunteers are from all walks of life. Organizers are simply looking for people who care about children and have common sense. Volunteers will be thoroughly trained and well supported by professional staff to help them through each case. Volunteers must pass a background check, participate in a 30-hour pre-service training course and agree to stay with a case until it is closed (a year and a half on average).

For anyone interested in volunteering, there will be an informational session in Athens, Ohio on January 26, 2018 from 11:30 am to 1 p.m. Pre-registration is required for the event. All interested persons should contact the Meigs/Gallia CASA Program by email at [email protected] or connect with them on Facebook.