MAYS LANDING - The Honorable Julio L. Mendez, assignment judge, Atlantic/Cape May Vicinage, swore in 10 Atlantic and Cape May county residents as Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers June 4, at the Atlantic County Criminal Courthouse in Mays Landing.
According to a release, the graduation was the culmination of 35 hours of instruction in child advocacy, the Family Court system and cultural competency.
As CASA volunteers, they will meet with and advocate on behalf of children and youth living in the foster care system and recommend resources and services regarding the youth’s education, medical and overall wellbeing.
The ultimate goal is to ensure that the children attain safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible.
The new CASA volunteers are: Joyce Yamoah of Egg Harbor Township; Jenny Gory of Somers Point; Debra Rosander of Ocean City; Iola Clybourn of Mays Landing; Anne Whitehead of Galloway; Barbara Zacco-Varvaro of North Cape May; Lainey O’Reilly of Ocean City; Carol Porter of Woodbine; and, Linda Heaney of Villas.
“We are so thankful that these individuals stepped forward to take the role of advocate for children living in foster care,” stated Director of Program Services Jennifer Valentine. “Their advocacy will have a profound effect of the lives of children and youth in our community. Unfortunately, too many children enter foster care every year. These new CASA volunteers are starting a journey that will help change the stories of the children they meet and in the process their lives will be changed as well.”
CASA volunteers meet with everyone on the child’s case, including teachers, caseworkers, counselors, and health care providers and gather information into objective court reports. Each report, submitted to the family courts at every hearing, contains recommendations for services and resources regarding the child’s education, medical and overall wellbeing.
Individuals interested in becoming a CASA volunteer should call (609) 601-7800 or visit www.AtlanticCapeCASA.org.