Volunteers are now being recruited to serve as Court Appointed Special Advocates, who help children at risk for abuse or neglect.
Some 30 hours of training is required before a case is assigned; sessions cover the role and responsibilities of the advocate, the court system, the child protection system, and understanding children and families. A legal background is not required.
An advocate's job is to talk with everyone who has pertinent information that will be of assistance in making decisions concerning the child and his/her family: the child, family members, social workers, school officials, counselors, medical providers and others.
The advocate then writes reports to the Court summarizing findings and making recommendations for rehabilitative and protective services. The advocate attends all Court hearings of the case and is sometimes asked to explain and elaborate on his/her report.
Children range in age from infancy to 18 years and will be of any race, religion or socio-economic background. Most are involved with the Court because of abuse or neglect; all need help.
Details about training and the program are available by calling the CASA office at Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes at (315) 789-2686 ext. 116 or by e-mailing Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org.