Court Appointed Special Advocate training comes to Cochise Count - Tucson News Now

Court Appointed Special Advocate training comes to Cochise County

(Source: Cochise County) (Source: Cochise County)
COCHISE COUNTY, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Volunteers who want to make a difference in a neglected or abused child’s life are being invited to attend a two-day training program in Cochise County.

The workshop for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is usually held in Tucson or Phoenix, but will take place in Sierra Vista on April 20 & 21.

“This is the perfect opportunity for anyone who wants to become a CASA volunteer to get the required training at a local level,” said CASA Program Manager Abby Dodge. “Because we don’t usually have enough people in Cochise County to justify having the training here, our volunteers have to travel further afield, which can deter some people.

“However, we’ve recently had more volunteers come forward, allowing us to bring the training to Sierra Vista.”

Volunteers are still desperately needed, however, to help advocate for the approximately 220 Cochise County children who have been removed from their families and homes due to neglect or abuse, and who are currently in foster care or institutions awaiting court proceedings.

Appointed by a Cochise County Superior Court judge, based upon recommendations by CASA staff, volunteers typically remain an advocate for a child, or siblings, until they either go back to their parents, are adopted by another family, or age out of the system at 18.

CASA volunteers are assigned cases based upon their preferences and where they live. They are encouraged to develop a relationship with the child they represent, and to become the eyes and ears of the judge as the future of the child is determined.

Currently, only around a quarter of children have an assigned CASA volunteer.

Before attending this month’s training, volunteers are asked to complete an application form and an interview. They must also have their fingerprints taken and complete a polygraph exam. The polygraph examiner will be in Sierra Vista on April 18.

The CASA Advocacy Academy will take place on April 20 & 21, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Sierra Vista Police Department and topics covered will include the dependency process, the Department of Child Safety, childhood trauma, substance abuse, objectivity and cultural competence, confidentiality, CASA case work, and court reports. Lunch and snacks are provided and there is no cost to attend.

The workshop will also include speakers from local agencies who will discuss the services available throughout Cochise County.

To apply to become a CASA volunteer and to find out more about the training call (520) 432-7521 or visit https://www.cochise.az.gov/court-administration/casa

You can also hear from current volunteers about their own experiences by watching a short video at  https://youtu.be/3R1TCBvbwpQ

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Copyright 2018 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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