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Volunteers are child advocates

POSTED: April 21, 2010 4:00 a.m.

For more than 20 years, volunteers of a local non-profit organization have focused on giving displaced children the right to a safe and permanent home.

  

The Hall-Dawson Court Appointed Special Advocate program helps nearly 100 children in Dawson County annually, according to Connie Stephens, CASA director for the area.

  

“We have a good many volunteers in Dawson County that truly have a big impact and make a difference in the lives of children,” Stephens said.

  

According to the Georgia CASA Web site, the organization supports court-sanctioned, community-based programs that provide volunteers who advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children involved in juvenile court deprivation proceedings.

  

The organization’s volunteers assist judges in deciding the best placement for a child who has been removed from a home.

  

Advocates in Dawson County are good at what they do, Stephens said.

  

“They’re wonderful advocates, they really are,” she said. “They have a genuine concern for the rights and welfare of children.”

  

Georgia CASA has about 2,000 volunteers statewide.

  

According to its Web site, the first three CASA volunteers were appointed by a judge in 1989. Since then, volunteers have helped more than 3,500 children statewide.

  

Volunteers participate in 30 hours of training, including courtroom observation, to prepare them. Once trained and appointed, volunteers are supported by CASA staff.

  

For more information, call (770) 531-1964, or visit www.halldawsoncasa.org.

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