Advocates For Children Recognized For Service

Helping kids in the court system

CASA volunteer Julie Williams (center) receives recognition for her 18 years of service from Chief of Probation Kendall Rhyne, Gila County Presiding Judge Peter Cahill and CASA Manager Katrisha Stuler.

CASA volunteer Julie Williams (center) receives recognition for her 18 years of service from Chief of Probation Kendall Rhyne, Gila County Presiding Judge Peter Cahill and CASA Manager Katrisha Stuler.

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The Court Appointed Special Advocate program (CASA) recently honored 29 northern Gila County volunteers who have served as advocates for children from shattered families whose fate is caught up in the court system.

In 2011 the CASAs in northern Gila County served 49 children on a total of 31 cases. They wrote 89 court reports which provided critical information to the court regarding what was in the best interest of the children they served. And, together these CASAs logged a grand total of 3,554 hours and drove 28,355 miles working on their cases.

Currently 94 percent of dependent children in northern Gila County have a CASA volunteer.

CASA of the Year for Gila County - Award of Excellence

Kate Smith has volunteered since the spring of 2010, handling two cases. Her first case involved an 11-year-old girl whose parents could not care for her. A judge terminated the parents’ rights to free her for adoption, but only after she had been in and out of 25 placements to date around the state.

Smith has spent many, many hours traveling to visit the child and attending meetings and staffing over the past 23 months.

Although the case remains open, Smith took on a second case in May of 2011. This case involved a 14-year-old girl with similar issues and background as her first case. However, this time the system quickly freed the girl for adoption by her foster family in July. During the past year, Smith logged 1,488 miles and spent 209 hours working on her CASA cases.

Recognition for 18 Years

CASA Julie Williams has served for 18 years, making her the program’s most experienced volunteer.

Recognition for 10 Years

Three CASA volunteers completed 10 years of service, including Leslie Tarallo, Robert Tarallo and Bob Hibbert.

Award of Appreciation

The group also offered an award of appreciation to the Payson Roundup, in large measure because of the support the newspaper gave to Julie Williams during her 18 years of service to the organization.

To learn more about CASA of Gila County visit www.azcasa.org or call 928-474-7145.

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