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Director of CASA of Forsyth County moving to Gainesville
Accepted position with Hall-Dawson agency
Janet Walden, left, accepted the position of executive director at CASA of Hall-Dawson County. Lori Pupp, right, was named interim executive director of CASA of Forsyth County. - photo by File photo

A nonprofit that advocates for abused and neglected children must say goodbye to its director after more than six years, though the person named interim director is already familiar with the group.

Janet Walden, who has been the executive director of Court Appointed Special Advocate, or CASA, of Forsyth County for six and a half years accepted the same position for the Hall-Dawson County program, she announced Thursday.

Walden's last day will be today, and she said she is glad she is staying in the CASA network.

"I am honored to have been chosen for this position," Walden said. "I know I'll continue working with the great CASA team in Forsyth County."

CASA volunteers work with families and the juvenile justice system to advocate for a child's best interests, providing them a voice that otherwise may be unheard in the face of foster care, changing case workers and neglectful parents.

In June, 11 new advocates were inducted into the CASA family, joining more than 100 volunteers who collect information from anyone involved in a child's life for the judge to make an informed decision.

Walden was appointed by the National CASA Association as a member of its newly formed Suburban Leadership Council in May. Along with 11 other CASA directors from across the country, Walden will share her expertise gained from her time at the Forsyth program.

"I have greatly enjoyed my time in Forsyth and leave with a bit of sadness," she said, "yet knowing I am leaving the program in the wonderful hands of an outstanding staff, board of director, and remarkable volunteers."

One of those staff members was named interim executive director of the Forsyth program.

Lori Pupp has spent the last 16 years working in child welfare, with the last six being in Forsyth County.

She currently serves as the advocacy director and is responsible for providing support, training and supervision for the CASA team.

"We are very fortunate to have Lori stepping into the role," Walden said, "ensuring our local program will continue to be an advocacy leader in the state."