Volunteers will be answering questions and recruiting new Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) during Coffee with CASAs, set for 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday at Five80 Coffeehouse, 122 E. Randolph.
CASA volunteers are “everyday people who care about children,” according to a press release. “CASA volunteers are responsible for gathering information that will enable the court to understand the situation of the child. They become the eyes and ears of the court, making independent objective recommendations in the child’s best interest.”
Coffee with CASAs is scheduled to answer questions and recruit new CASAs. Staff from Garfield County Care Campus and CASA volunteers already working with cases will be at at the event to answer questions and recruit interested parties to become CASAs.
“There is a huge need in the Enid community for CASAs due to increased abuse and neglected children, unfortunately,” according to a press release. In 2019 there were 373 confirmed cases of abused and neglected children, according to the release. In just the last quarter, July through September, that number was 285, for just those three months.
“Court Appointed Special Advocates are needed as an advocate to stand up for these children and be their voice,” according to the release.
Garfield County Care Campus is a non-profit organization that trains community volunteers to advocate for the best interests of children in court.
Any adult 21 or older “with the desire and commitment to help an abused or neglected child” is eligible to apply. Objectivity, good communication skills and common sense are important attributes for CASA volunteers, according to the press release.
CASA volunteers receive a minimum of 30 hours training prior to becoming an advocate. They learn advocacy skills, interview techniques and courtroom procedures. In addition, trainees will learn about child development, special needs children, cultural issues and the juvenile system.
The next CASA training class begins in January. Those who complete applications at the Coffee with CASAs event will be involved in this training.