PLYMOUTH — Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of NH is holding four training sessions from October 19 through November 16 in Plymouth to help increase the number of specially trained advocates available.
CASA volunteers advocate for children in our state who have been abused or neglected. Unfortunately, in the last several months, CASA of NH has had to decline working with some of the children who need advocacy the most throughout the Plymouth and Lakes region area due to a shortage of volunteers.
Currently, there are about 400 everyday heroes who voluntarily advocate for kids and youth throughout the state with CASA. These 400 volunteers are able to meet the need of about 80% of the children and youth who have been abused
Training is led by CASA supervisors as well as a local family law attorney, social worker and foster parent, and covers a wide array of topics to best prepare each advocate for the child or sibling group they choose to work with. Once trained, CASA volunteers are appointed a staff supervisor who is available to support them in court and for all questions, concerns and assistance they need throughout the process.
Volunteers do not need a legal or social work background. They do need to be 21 years of age, have a high school diploma, ability to attend court hearings approximately every three months, the time to meet with the child once a month and the time to talk with various people involved in the child's life. Transportation and computer skills are essential.
Volunteers are expected to commit to the length of time that it takes for a safe, permanent plan to be established for the child or youth. While this amount of time can vary widely, the average length of a case is 22 months. CASA volunteers become the expert on the child, represent their best interests by making independent and objective recommendations and really make a difference to a child or youth in need.