CUMBERLAND – Earlier this month, The Hon. Jeffrey S. Getty and The Hon. W. Timothy Finan swore in 7 new volunteers as CASAs— Court-Appointed Special Advocates for abused and neglected children. Family and friends gathered in the Allegany County Court House to watch the volunteers take an oath promising to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children.
Those sworn-in include:
Addison Bohn of Mount Savage
Trudi Bills of Ridgeley
Pamela McMaster of McKenzie-Frostburg
Kristin Moore of Frostburg
Cynthia Scheve of Cumberland
Vicki Shewbridge of Ellerslie
Nicole Whitlock-Arnold of Mineral County
These newly appointed CASA volunteers join 15 other dedicated community members who have been trained and are advocating for foster children in Allegany County. 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 of Allegany County is pleased to welcome so many wonderful new volunteers to our program,” said Misty Raines, Executive Director of the program. “Our volunteers come from all walks of life and diverse socio-economic backgrounds, but they all bring something truly special to their newfound positions. Each volunteer is an ordinary individual from the community, who rises to the extraordinary by making a difference in the lives of abused and neglected children.”
CASA volunteers are asked to meet with the child regularly and are authorized to interview people in the child’s life such as social workers, attorneys, and teachers. They attend court hearings with the child and report their findings to the judge.
“I’ve seen flyers about CASA for many years now and I’ve learned a lot about the organization’s work through social media, said Scheve. “I chose to get involved because I wanted to help children in my own community have a better life, and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to give back to those in need.”
Scheve was recently appointed to the case of a 10-year-old girl who has been in the system for about two years and is currently placed in a therapeutic foster home to help address her needs.
“I know this work will be challenging,” she said. “But I also know that it will be rewarding to help my CASA child learn, grow, and find happiness!”
Whitlock-Arnold, a stay-at-home mom heard about CASA of Allegany County by attending their signature Craft Beer and Wine Festival earlier this year. “At the event, I was provided a lot of great information on CASA and the role of a volunteer. Now that I’ve been sworn-in, I’m most looking forward to showing these children that there are adults out there that can be trusted – adults that will care for them, listen to them, and make them a priority!”
With nearly 100 children waiting for a CASA volunteer, many more advocates are still needed. 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.
For more information on how to get involved, please visit www.casaofalleganycounty.org or call Misty Raines at (301) 777-1262.
About CASA of Allegany County
CASA of Allegany County is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, located in western Maryland. CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates. CASA of Allegany County was founded in July 2012 and opened its doors in July 2013. CASA of Allegany County recruits and trains volunteers from the community to be advocates for foster children. Currently, only 1 in 10 foster children have a CASA volunteer speaking up for their best interests.