OHIO VALLEY — Be a Champion for area children — a CASA Champion.
CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate.
Chelsey Kloes, Meigs-Gallia CASA Program Director, explained that the program is currently looking for volunteers and champions to meet the needs of area children.
The role of a CASA volunteer is to advocate for children who are involved in juvenile court cases, including those who may have been abused or neglected.
Volunteers can be anyone age 21 or older who have a passion for helping children. The is no specific background or education required as the CASA program provides all the necessary training free of charge.
CASA and guardian ad litem (GAL) volunteers are appointed by judges to advocate for abused or neglected children, to make sure they don’t get lost in the overburdened legal and social service system or languish in inappropriate group or foster homes. Volunteers stay with each case until it is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. For many of the children served, their CASA/GAL volunteer will be the one constant adult presence in their lives, according to the National CASA website.
Currently, there are four CASA volunteers in Meigs County who have completed their training and have become certified. Additional volunteers are needed in Meigs County, as well as Gallia County as they work to grow the program.
CASAs are a “voice for children” and make a difference in their lives, explained Kloes.
Those who are interested can apply by contacting Kloes at 740-992-4616. Currently the trainings for the program take place in Athens in conjunction with the Athens CASA program.
Don’t have the time to volunteer but still want to help — become a champion.
Kloes explained that a CASA Champion can be a business, individual or organization who helps to promote the Meigs-Gallia CASA Program to help make it successful.
While the volunteers work directly with a child and family, a champion would work with the overall program as it works to grow and serve the area.
For more information contact Kloes at Meigs Juvenile Court by calling 740-992-4616 or visit the program’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/meigsgalliacasagal/
Sarah Hawley is managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.