CASA Volunteers Certified - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

11/17/06 - Nacogdoches

CASA Volunteers Certified

by Donna McCollum

CASA volunteers take their oath of service in the very courtroom where they may someday standup for a child's best interest.   They recite, "The paramount concern will be the best interest of the child or children." Nine volunteers were certified.

One was missing, for his service was needed just two hours later.  Director Rebecca Carlton said he had a good excuse. "He was sworn in Wednesday. Yesterday [Thursday], he visited the child, met the teacher, and was at the office until 6:00, completing his report."

Carlton is overwhelmed by the volunteers' willingness to serve. Jim Jeter became interested during a CASA presentation at his Rotary club.   Jeter, who has always worked with children from coaching to youth programs said, "My youngest child will be out of the house pretty soon, and although our system tries to look out for kids the best way they can, I felt like I could help that."

Frank Woffard, another volunteer, stepped forward after he heard a plea for help on the evening news.   "I saw it on local TV, KTRE, and there's a definite need there, and that's what attracted me. I like working with kids."

Geri Thompson was featured in that initial report. Just two months later, she's certified, and literally ready to go the extra mile to serve a foster child.   Thompson explained, "It's a placement that's going to be out of this county completely, hours and hours away, so we're discussing the possibility of me taking that particular case."

CASA claims the effort volunteers put forth will help a child navigate the often uncertain waters of the child welfare system.   Judge Ed Klein, who delivered the oath said, "That's the advocates' main goal. Their sole duty is to look out for the best interest of the child. That's their mission."

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