Bainbridge Lions Club heres about Casa program, how to volunteer

Published 6:18 pm Friday, March 27, 2015

Nan McIntosh, executive director of the Southwest Georgia Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program, addressed the Bainbridge Lions Club Wednesday on the organizations goals.

“A CASA volunteer is a trained community volunteer who is appointed by a judge to advocate for the best interests of an abused or neglected child involved in juvenile court dependency proceedings,”  she said in opening her comments. “We want to make sure those children have a safe and pleasant home environment.”

McIntosh said there are some qualifications that a person must meet to become a CASA volunteer.

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First of all, to become a CASA volunteer, you must sincerely care for the well-being of children,” she said.

One must also pass a criminal background check and have good verbal and written communication skills.

“You must also have the ability to be objective and non-judgmental and be available to attend all court hearings and give a commitment to the CASA program for at least one year or preferably until the case is resolved,” McIntosh said.

McIntosh further pointed out that CASA volunteers must be able to undertake certain responsibilities. She said they must visit the child, explain the role of a CASA volunteer to them, keep them informed of all aspects of the court proceedings and gather independent information about the child to make recommendations to the judge in the child’s best interests,

“Volunteers should also seek cooperative solutions with other participants in the child’s case, including the child’s attorney, interview the parents, guardians or caretakers, social workers and other service providers and review records related to the family,” McIntosh said.