DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

December 26, 2013

CASA of NH needs help


Derry News

---- — Court Appointed Special Advocates of NH believes that every child deserves a safe, permanent home. CASA is a nonprofit organization that recruits, screens and trains everyday citizens from the community to be the voice of abused and neglected children in the courtroom, seeking to ensure them a safe and permanent home.

Often referred to as the “eyes and ears of the court,” CASA volunteer advocates are assigned by family court judges to advocate exclusively on behalf of a single child or sibling group. They conduct monthly, face-to-face visits with their child(ren), make independent, objective observations about the child’s safety and well-being, and submit a written summary report to the appointing judge at each hearing, to help that judge make decisions about the child’s permanent placement.

Most importantly, CASAs are often the only consistent, positive adult in the lives of these children during a time of chaos, confusion, and hurt. Currently, there are nearly 400 everyday heroes throughout the state with CASA. These men and women are able to meet the need of about 83 percent of the children and youth who have been abused.

The organization’s goal is to provide an advocate for every child in New Hampshire that needs one, but they cannot do that without help.

Volunteers do not need a legal or social work background. They do need to be 21 years of age, have a high school diploma or equivalent, ability to attend court hearings approximately every three months, the time to meet with the child once a month and the time to talk with various people involved in the child’s life.

Transportation and computer skills are essential. Volunteers are expected to commit to the length of time that it takes for a safe, permanent home to be established for the child or youth.

While this amount of time can vary widely, the average length of a case is 24 months.

To be eligible to take the training, an application must be completed along with various background checks and an interview. Applications and further information can be found at casanh.org or contact Diane at 626-4600 or via email to speakup@casanh.org.

The first trainings of 2014 will take place in Coos County, the Seacoast and Manchester.