Court Appointed Special Advocates swears in new 18 new volunteers

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By The Staff

Franklin and Anderson County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) celebrated the swearing in of new volunteers March 15.
With over 40 guests in attendance, this event recognized the 18 community members that recently completed their training to become volunteer advocates for abused and neglected children in Franklin and Anderson County.  Hope Community Church was decorated with blue pinwheels in recognition of the upcoming National Child Abuse Prevention Month in April.
Judge Williams, the Franklin County Family Court judge, led the new volunteers and board members in an oath of confidentiality.
The class began at the end of January and met on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Hope Community Church, located on the Franklin-Anderson County line.
The class, comprised of community members from all different walks of life, is the largest group of trainees since the CASA program began in 2000.
These new volunteers will be critical to CASA, according to a news release.
Before this class, CASA had 25 active volunteers with 123 children to advocate for in 55 cases. Considering most CASA volunteers only take on one case (sometimes two) at a time, most of the current volunteers already had a full caseload.  Now, with the help of these new volunteers, the CASA program has expanded to 43 volunteers and will be able to successfully advocate for every abused and neglected child assigned to our program.
Although CASA’s program has almost doubled in volunteer involvement in the past few months, the agency is still in need of more advocates. Unfortunately, child abuse and neglect continues to be a rising issue in our community and throughout the nation, organizers said.
Last year, Franklin County reported 76 substantiated abuse and/or neglect cases.  In 2010, Anderson County reported 84 substantiated child abuse and/or neglect cases.
New volunteers must complete a 30-hour training period before taking on cases. The next training class will begin in June and the training curriculum will include volunteer panels, guest speakers, and some homework.
Some of the classes are also available online.
Call 502-875-0702 or email b.preston@fewpb.net to apply.