CASA of Hancock County celebrated the induction of 15 new volunteers on February 20 at the Leo Seals Center in Waveland. Youth Court Judge Elise Deano swore in the volunteers after applauding their decision to go through the necessary screening and training to become Court Appointed Special Advocates.
CASA’s newest volunteers were administered an oath in front of their family members, several current CASA volunteers, program staff members and the entire Board of Directors. “I cannot underscore the importance of this unique volunteer experience. CASA Advocates are well-trained, committed community members who remain focused on the needs of the child and provide the court with invaluable facts about the child and family they are working with,” states Cynthia Chauvin, Executive Director.
Currently, there are over 350 children in foster care in Hancock County. CASA of Hancock County is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that utilizes trained community members to advocate for children who through no fault of their own are involved in the complex and overburdened child welfare and youth court systems. Often there is not one consistent adult who is a voice in the child’s life. A CASA volunteer provides individualized one-on-one advocacy and works with all agencies and parties involved to gather information and to provide an independent report for the Court with recommendations based solely upon the child’s best interest.
With the addition of these 15 new CASA volunteers, the program will be able to serve an additional 15-20 children who are involved in the Youth Court and DHS systems.
CASA of Hancock County encourages community members to consider becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate or a CASA. Training will begin in May for our next group of volunteers. If you are interested in learning more about CASA the first step in to attend an Orientation session. Our next Orientation session will be held on March 25 from 5:30-6:30pm at 300 S. Second Street, 2nd Floor (above Cypress Café) in Downtown Bay St. Louis. If you are unable to attend this Orientation session, please call 228-344-0419 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your Orientation.
L-R Front row: Susan Wallace, Elaine Willins, Carol Laux, Heather Dungey, Polly Chester, Venetia Gonzales, Terri Bourg; L-R Back row: Kelcie Coote, Julie Berry, Donna Cole, Polly Cuevas, Kera Parkerson, Carol Shiyou, Candy Murphy, & Youth Court Judge Elise Deano. Not pictured: Tara Winchester