On May 22, Payne County Associate District Judge Stephen R. Kistler swore in seven new CASA volunteers — Court-Appointed Special Advocates for abused and neglected children.
The ceremony took place in the Payne County Court House, Stillwater, where the volunteers took an oath promising to advocate for the best interest of the child.
The newly appointed CASA volunteers included Brenda Osiek, Bonnie Hamlin, Raquelle Parli, Darlyn Shenold, Linda Miller, Michele Grant, and Sinqanice Archer. Carol Maciula, Christy Barker, and Sara Drischler also completed training and will be sworn in as CASA Volunteers in June.
CASA for Kids has experienced considerable growth over the last year. Thirty-six new volunteers have been trained, and 67 volunteers have actively advocated for children in the juvenile deprived court system. As officers of the court, they ensure that the children’s needs are recognized and their best interests are considered both in the courtroom and in the community.
CASA volunteers are asked to meet with their assigned child regularly and are authorized to interview people in the child’s life, such as relatives, social workers, physicians and teachers. They attend court hearings to report their findings to the judge.
“The CASA for Kids program is an invaluable resource for the juvenile Court system,” said Michael Kulling, Assistant District Attorney. “I have worked with the CASA program for almost twenty years and the volunteers who agree to work in cases for the best interests of our abused and neglected children do an outstanding job. These volunteers assist the Court system in making decisions and effect the best interests of these children. I could not adequately perform my role as Assistant District Attorney in these cases without the many great CASA volunteers we have in our community.”
There are approximately 340 children in the CASA for Kids service area (Payne and Logan Counties) who are eligible to have a CASA volunteer. Over the past year, CASA for Kids volunteers have devoted 3,598 hours and driven over 42,000 miles to serve 164 of these children.
Many more advocates are still needed. There are no prerequisites for becoming a CASA volunteer other than being at least 21 years of age, clearing a background screening and successfully completing 30 hours of training. The next CASA for Kids volunteer training will begin in June. To learn more about becoming a CASA volunteer, call 405-624-2242.
CASA for Kids, Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that recruits, screens, trains and supports community volunteers who advocate for the best interest of abused and neglected children in juvenile deprived court in Payne and Logan Counties.