CASA volunteers sworn in to advocate for local youth

CASA of Graves County & Southwest KY Volunteer Advocates were recently sworn in by Judge Deborah Hawkins Crooks. Pictured from left: Danielle Carter, Barbara Davis and Melinda Lee.

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Judge Deborah Hawkins-Crooks recently swore in 3 new CASA Volunteers (Court Appointed Special Advocates) for abused, neglected and dependent children. They join 27 other volunteers who advocate in Graves, Carlisle and Hickman counties.

CASA volunteers are dedicated community members who have been trained and are advocating for children in the county's juvenile dependency, neglect and abuse court system. As officers of the court, they ensure that the children's needs are recognized and best interests are considered both in the courtroom and in the community.

CASA volunteers are required to meet with the child regularly and are authorized to interview people in the child's life such as teachers, family members, and other parties who can provide useful information about the child. They attend court hearings, and report their findings to the judge. They ensure the child's wishes are known to the court and make recommendations that are considered by the presiding judge when making difficult permanency decisions.

There are no prerequisites for becoming a CASA volunteer other than being at least 21 years of age, clearing an extensive background screening and successfully completing 30 hours of training.

Volunteers are needed to serve in Graves, Carlisle, Hickman and Fulton counties. If you would like more information about becoming a CASA volunteer call (270) 251-2060. Winter training classes begin in February. Apply on-line at www.casagravesswky.org to reserve your spot.

CASA of Graves County & Southwest KY is a member of the Kentucky CASA Network, composed of 23 program,s as well as a member of the National CASA Association.