The Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program of Marion County is a new county program as of May 2019. In June, it was nationally recognized as a CASA organization by National CASA. With the mission to recruit, train, guide, monitor and maintain volunteer CASAs. These volunteers are then appointed by judicial officers of Marion County Family Court as guardian’s ad litem to represent the best interests of abused, neglected or dependent children in the court.
All CASAs work on a volunteer basis. They are community members who have been trained to advocate in Court for the best interest of an abused or neglected child. CASA volunteers serve by court appointment and are assigned to a child for the duration of a case, some of which can last years. Youth involved with those cases can experience multiple changes in living arrangements and schools, each introducing new foster parents, new teachers, new guidance counselors, and new classmates. The CASA volunteers are there throughout the case, frequently becoming the only consistent adult presence in the child’s life.
The Marion CASA program brings the ability to allow each child who comes into contact with the court a true voice. It follows the concept of “the best interest of the child.” The CASA volunteer can help motivate the parents/guardians to complete the goals set by the court to help strengthen their family unit. In situations where reunification cannot be maintained, the best interest of the child will be determined and stated to the Court.
Families involved with Court are often going through life changing events. It is these CASA volunteers that help families have better outcomes and ensure that children have a voice in their futures. For more information about the CASA program in Ohio, visit the website at https://www.ohiocasa.org/ or call the local office at 740-223-4014.