CASA of Warren and Forest Counties has just been awarded certification by the National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association. This certification recognizes that the local CASA program is in compliance with National CASA's high standards for quality advocacy.
According to Michael Piranino, CEO of the National CASA Association, "The National CASA quality assurance process is very rigorous, and reflects our commitment to ensure every child we serve has the powerful volunteer advocate working on their behalf. This certification says CASA of Warren and Forest Counties has demonstrated to us a strong capacity to provide excellent services to the abused and neglected children within their community."
CASA eirector Lisa Thompson stated, "This recognition is for the CASA Advisory Board and the Volunteers Advocates who always strive for excellence. A CASA program in good standing must complete the quality assurance and self assessment tool and be in at least 85% compliance with all twelve specifications of National CASA's program standards. Each standard covers critical requirements for best practices in areas such as; human resources and volunteer management; program governance; public relations; planning and evaluation; financial facility and risk management; inclusiveness and diversity; record keeping; program development and implementation; and State and National affiliations. The questionnaire was completed and also accompanied by 44 separate indicators of compliance. This is reviewed by independent consultants before certification is awarded. In four years we will start the process again to assure that CASA continues to be a quality program serving our areas most vulnerable children."
Susan Swab CASA Advisory Board Chairperson, left,
and Lisa Thompson CASA Director.
President Judge, the Honorable Maureen Skerda stated "I commend our local CASA program's recent recognition as a nationally certified program. In these days of budget cuts and decreased services to children and families, it is important to recognize the collaborative efforts of volunteers who assist the Court by providing detailed and timely information to the Courts. It goes without saying that our Children and Youth staff are highly committed professionals who are taxed with delivery of quality services with fewer resources available and more data collection to monitor outcomes. It is best when CASA and CYS are able to work together. The outcome is always the best for our children- timely permanency for the child a forever family who provides the love, nurturing and support every child deserves. Kudos to Lisa Thompson for her tireless training of new volunteers, raising public awareness and continued dedication to children and a special thanks to each of the volunteers who has made a difference in a child's life.
Judge Paul H. Millin, the President Judge at the time, recognized the need for children who are victims of child abuse and neglect to have a voice in the life altering decisions being made about them in the Court Room. The Jefferson DeFrees Family Center agreed to serve as a start up site for CASA of Warren and Forest Counties. CASA has received a non profit status under the umbrella of the Jefferson DeFrees Family Center tax-exempt status. In November of 2004 the first four CASA volunteers were sworn in by Judge Millin. In the past four years CASA of Warren and Forest Counties contributed a total of 3,660 volunteer hours per year to our local abused and neglected children. During that time CASA has trained and supported an average of 29 volunteers who have served an average of 30.5 abused and/or neglected children per year. Currently CASA volunteers represent 90% of the youth in the local foster care system.
For more information regarding CASA of Warren and Forest Counties, call Lisa Thompson 723-4434.