“Every child needs a hero, but abused children need superheroes!” Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma (CANO) needs volunteers to become “superhero advocates” for children in foster care.
From July 2015 through June 2016, CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Volunteers worked with 236 children involved in 106 court cases in five counties in northeastern Oklahoma. However, many more CASA Volunteers are needed to help meet the high demand of children involved in the family court docket.
New CASA training classes are being offered from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on four Saturdays in November and December (Oct. 29, Nov. 5, Nov. 19, and Dec. 3). The classes will be held in the Administration Building of the Cherokee Casino at Will Rogers Downs, located east of Claremore on Hwy. 20 at 20900 S. 4200 Road.
The classes will be taught by Gayle Hanson, the new CASA Trainer for Rogers, Mayes, Craig, Ottawa, and Delaware Counties. Topics covered by the training include the basics of the child protective services system, the judicial process on abuse and neglect cases, roles and responsibilities of a CASA volunteer, courtroom demeanor, communication skills, cultural sensitivity issues, and other relevant issues.
Following training, CASA Volunteers are appointed by a judge to speak out in the best interests of abused and/or neglected children who have been removed from their homes and placed in the foster care system. CASAs are able to meet with the child, obtain records, visit schools and formulate an overall picture of the child’s specific circumstances. The CASA Volunteer writes reports to the judge handling the child’s case. Basically, the Volunteer serves as an extra set of “eyes and ears” and helps paint a picture for the judge of what’s going on in the child’s life.
CANO welcomes people from all walks of life. We simply need people who care about children and have good critical thinking skills. All volunteers are thoroughly trained and well supported by professional staff to help them through each case. No special educational or social work background is required, but a CASA Volunteer must be at least 21, pass a background check, participate in the 30-hour pre-service training course, and agree to stay with a case until it is closed (a year and a half on average).
To become a CASA “Superhero” Volunteer, contact the office of Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma at 918-923-4570 for additional information or to request an application. Interested persons also can find more information on the CANO website: http://cano-casa.com/.