The CASA of Gila County program has recently seen a significant increase in the number of people interested in becoming CASA volunteers.
Twelve applications were received since the end of December 2018, with 18 additional inquiries received through Facebook social media.
The need for more volunteers still exists however, as there are approximately 70 children in the southern section of the county (Globe, Miami, Hayden area) who are wards of the court, with only five of these children receiving advocacy services at this time.
The northern section of the county has 42 children involved with the courts, with 28 being assigned a CASA.
Eleven of the new applications were from people living in the Payson/Pine/Star Valley area with only one applicant living in Globe. The vision of the program is to have an advocate for every abused and neglected child in Gila County. Even with endless recruiting efforts, the county program continues to struggle obtaining an interest from that area of the county to help them meet their goal.
“Many of those who inquire about the program and time commitment respond by stating this is something that will have to wait until they have the time,” comments Coordinator Emily Leverance, “The citizens of Gila County are concerned and want to help, but just fear the responsibilities and demands will be too hard to fulfill with their other daily obligations but we currently have volunteers who work full time jobs, have a family of their own, and still find the time to be amazing advocates.” On an average, volunteers spend 15-20 hours a month on their case with flexibility to make one’s own schedule.
CASA volunteers provide support and advocacy for children who are either in foster care or in the care of relatives.
Volunteers receive in-depth training and ongoing support from their local program as well as from the National CASA/GAL Association. Across the nation, CASA Pre-Service Volunteer Training serves as the foundation of which every volunteer learns the principles of best interest advocacy.
The curriculum has just recently been revised to highlight the shared values and build the skills, self-awareness and points of view necessary for volunteers to be most effective.
To learn more about becoming part of the CASA team, contact the CASA of Gila County Program staff by calling 928-402-4427 or going to www.casaofgilacounty.org