On Tuesday, May 31, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Lancaster and Lebanon Counties celebrated the swearing-in of nine new CASAs, three of whom will serve children in Lebanon County. These are the first volunteers to be trained to advocate for children in Lebanon County since the Lancaster County program announced its expansion earlier this year.
“These three volunteers are able to advocate for about six children in foster care in Lebanon County. We are extremely excited to have these three volunteers as the first cohort of CASAs in Lebanon” says Jessica Laspino, Executive Director for CASA of Lancaster and Lebanon Counties. “Our CASAs are amazing people who see the need to step up and speak up on behalf of a child, and to champion that child’s best interest during their time in the foster care system until they achieve a safe and permanent home.”
CASAs are citizen volunteers who are trained to advocate for a child’s best interest during their time in the foster care system. Once appointed, CASAs are a compassionate and consistent adult in the life of a child, walking alongside them providing a constant amidst the tumult. CASAs are the “eyes and ears” of the court, submitting factual court reports for every hearing and being available to provide additional testimony. While focused on the best interest of the child, CASAs work to get to know everyone involved in the child's life including biological family, resource family, school personnel, child welfare professionals, and mental health professionals, to name a few.
Laura Wilcox, Director of Operations adds, “We are excited to see these new volunteers get started, and we are also in the process of recruiting for our next training class! We are always looking for new volunteers.”
If you are interested in learning more about CASA and what their volunteers do, you can sign up to attend an information session. There are two in-person sessions this month: Friday, June 17 at noon and Wednesday, June 29 at 5:30pm. Both sessions will be held at the CASA Office at 120 N. Shippen St. in Lancaster. You can learn more and register for either session by visiting www.casalancaster.org/volunteer.