CASA of Arizona trained more than 275 applicants to become the voice for children in foster care in 2020, which includes seven applicants from Gila County.

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) are volunteers who fight for the best interests of children currently living out of home who have experienced abuse and/or neglect.

Under normal circumstances, in-person training is offered to new CASA applicants across Arizona in addition to virtual training. CASA of Arizona is currently only offering virtual training to new applicants due to physical distancing and safety precautions.

“CASA of Arizona has gone above and beyond to ensure every new applicant who is able to train virtually through Zoom is comfortable and confident with the new training environment,” said CASA of Gila County Coordinator Emily Nader.

“The state trainers take time to work one on one with volunteers who express concerns and help them through this new virtual reality we are all living,” she explained.

Virtual training sessions are offered to all CASA applicants in Arizona with multiple days and times to choose from that best fit the applicant’s schedule.

CASA of Gila County welcomed three new CASA volunteers through a virtual CASA Oath ceremony on Dec. 17 before Superior Court Judge Timothy M. Wright. These volunteers have completed 30 hours of pre-service training and are now certified to serve in their community as the voice for our children living in foster care. Upon their first assignment, our program will have 27 advocates serving children from our communities, with 195 children living in out-of-home care.

CASA of Gila County is in critical need to increase the number of dedicated members of the community to step up and become Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers, and help break the cycle of abuse and neglect, through supporting children and families.

Studies show children with a CASA volunteer receive more services that are critical to their well-being than children without an advocate, and those children are more likely to achieve educational success.

Volunteers come in all shapes and sizes. No specific background or training is needed to become a CASA volunteer. Anyone 21 years of age or older, who can pass a thorough background check and complete 30 hours of free training, is encouraged to apply.

To learn more about becoming a CASA volunteer, call us at 928-402-4427, email enader@courts.az.gov or visit the website www.CASAofGilaCounty.org.

Contact the reporter at tmcquerrey@payson.com

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