By TIFANY HENDRICK
CASA, also known as Court Appointed Special Advocates for children, is looking for dedicated volunteers to help advocate for children who have been abused or neglected.
CASA are a group of volunteers, trained to advocate for children who have been abused or neglected and are under the protection of the court. While the Sumner County foster care and juvenile court system is filled with talented, committed and passionate professionals, it is overwhelmed and overburdened. A CASA volunteer is a crucial piece of the support system for at-risk youth.
The average child spends nine months in foster care in Sumner County. CASA volunteers help to shorten this time, on average, reducing the child’s time in care to six months.
According to Sonya Sweat-Manfred, Chief Executive Officer of Sumner County CASA, the mission of CASA is to “train and support volunteers to advocate for the abused and neglected children of Sumner County.” Currently, the Sumner County division is actively working on 30 cases. Most volunteers are carrying 2 cases each. Since July 1, 2017, CASA has served 117 children in Sumner County. However, there are currently 15 children in Sumner County waiting to be assigned a CASA volunteer.
If you might be interested in becoming a CASA volunteer contact the Sumner County CASA office directly. There are two full-staff and one part-time staff available to assist you. Once you contact the office they will send you an application and schedule you for an interview. There is some training required, but it is catered to accommodate most schedules. There is an on-line training offered, which is partnered with in office training. At the end of the training you will observe juvenile court hearings to become familiar with the process and will later be sworn in as a CASA volunteer. As a new member, you will be partnered with an experienced volunteer until you become more comfortable with the process.
CASA is a non-profit and as such it raises its money through fundraisers, sponsorships, private donations and community partners. Their upcoming fundraiser is a $10,000 Reverse Raffle. This event will be held on March 8, 2018 at Bit 0 Heaven event center at 450 West Main Street Suite B1 in Gallatin. This is the second year CASA has held this fundraiser, having found it to be successful and fun last year. Only 200 tickets are available at a cost of $150 per ticket. Each ticket covers two entries to the event, four drink tickets and heavy appetizers.
The event begins at 6 p.m. with the raffle beginning at 6:30 p.m. The person with the last ticket drawn will win $10,000- to be paid immediately. There are also money ball drawings throughout the night for amounts of $150, $300 and $500. You do not have to be present to win.
Sumner County CASA is located at 182 West Franklin Street , Gallatin, Tennessee. You can contact them by phone at 615-451-1688 or at email@example.com for more information.