New training to begin Jan. 4
COOKEVILLE – The Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency’s Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program is in “urgent need” of volunteers.
Conservatively, it’s estimated that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are victims of abuse, and CASA volunteers serve as a child’s independent voice in court. CASA of the Upper Cumberland has an ambitious goal, leaders say — a qualified court-appointed advocate available for every victim in the counties it serves, Putnam, Cumberland, Overton and Smith.
An upcoming training is scheduled to begin Jan. 4; CASA conducts volunteer trainings only three times each year. A candidate (21 or older) will have an interview scheduled. References will be contacted and a background check is done.
Approximately 30 hours of training will prepare trainees for advocacy. Among topics to be covered are:
- Understanding what is, and what is not, abuse/neglect;
- Laws regarding child abuse and neglect – past and present;
- Investigation guidelines and reports to the court;
- Case studies (practice applying knowledge gained throughout training)
After completing course work, the trainee is sworn-in by the juvenile court judge. The new CASA advocate has the court’s authority to speak with, and request information from, anyone who has information about the child’s circumstances. A summary of findings is submitted periodically in a report to the court.
The CASA volunteer coordinator will match the new advocate to an available case and will provide any support needed as the volunteer advocate gains confidence