Child Advocate Seeks To Engage Community

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The Court Appointed Special Advocate Program has named Lyndsie Butler as the program coordinator for CASA of Gila County, responsible for recruiting and training new CASA volunteers managing the program.

Butler’s previous experience includes positions in the education, mental health, and the social service fields. Butler has her BA in humanities and master’s in public policy, and is currently working on her Ph.D. in public policy in administration.

After growing up in Show Low, Butler left the state for several years then returned in 2010 where she has found her home with CASA of Gila County. Among her many roles as program coordinator, Butler hopes to increase community awareness and re­cruit additional volunteers.

“I am working to make CASA a household name in Gila County and let everyone know the amazing work that our volunteers can do. The CASA volunteers give the children in foster care a voice in court and a friend for life,” she says.

CASA volunteers serve as critical figures in the lives of children who have suffered from abuse or neglect. After receiving special training and being appointed by a judge, CASA volunteers gather all of the information involving a child’s case and make formal recommendations to the court on the child’s behalf. For many children, their CASA volunteer is the only consistent adult presence they have experienced in their lifetime.

Butler shares, “The CASA volunteers make a significant positive impact in the community and I am lucky enough to work alongside them. I am thankful every day that I get to have this opportunity.”

For information, contact Butler at (928) 474-7145 or visit www. CASAofGilaCounty.org.

CASA is administered by the Arizona Supreme Court and has offices in all 15 Arizona counties. CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to foster children who have the greatest need for an advocate. Volunteers do not provide placement or a home for the child, but are strictly advocates who submit their recommendations directly to the judge. CASA volunteers complete 30 hours of training to prepare them for their duties.

Child abuse:

• Between October 2012 and March 2013, the Child Abuse Hotline received 32,300 calls.

• Neglect is the most common form of child abuse followed by physical abuse.

• Reports of child abuse have risen since 2010.

• More than 15,000 Arizona children are living in out-of-home care.

CASA VOLUNTEERS:

• Volunteers must be at least 21 years old.

• Volunteers go through a rigorous screening process.

• Volunteers are asked to make a commitment to one case until its conclusion, typically involving 10-20 hours per month.

• Volunteers must complete 30 hours of pre-service training.

• CASA volunteers are advocates, not mentors. Their objective is to help the court system determine the best outcome for the child.

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