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CASA of Lexington expands capacity to advocate for abused, neglected children with 11 new volunteers

CASA of Lexington expanded its capacity to advocate for abused and neglected children in August when 11 new volunteers were sworn in by Family Court Judge Traci Brislin.

“What you’re about to embark on is something that is fantastic. It can be terrifying at some times, and some of the things you’re going to see and listen to from these kiddos may bring you to tears,” Brislin told the volunteers, who were sworn in virtually over Zoom due to the pandemic.

“But rest assured that no matter what case you get assigned to, every single minute of time that you are giving up and every single minute of time that you are taking away from your families and your lives are changing kids lives for the better. I can’t even hardly get it out without tearing up.”

CASA of Lexington expanded its capacity to advocate for abused and neglected children in August, when 11 new volunteers were sworn in virtually over Zoom.

CASA of Lexington Executive Director Melynda Jamison attended the ceremony and told the volunteers without people like them, “we wouldn’t exist.”

“You all are the ones who meet the children on the cases and write the reports and make the recommendations on behalf of these children,” she said. “The role of a CASA volunteer is crucial in many of these cases.”

The volunteers recited their oaths of confidentiality in unison, led by Brislin. New CASA staff members and a new CASA interpreter were also sworn in. The swearing-in ceremony is the final step in becoming a CASA volunteer. Each one completed a 30-hour pre-service training, also held virtually during the pandemic.

CASA volunteers are regular people who are assigned by judges to cases involving child abuse and neglect. They visit the children regularly, interview adults involved in the children’s lives, and then write reports for the judge.

Those reports provide a comprehensive picture of what’s going on in a child’s life and helps the judge make better-informed decisions. Children with a CASA volunteer are more likely to receive services they need and less likely to be moved around during the case. And they’re more likely to be placed in a permanent, safe home sooner.

Brislin said the reports she gets from CASA volunteers are always thorough and focused on “the most important thing” — what is best for the children.

“It really helps us to improve the quality of life for these kids,” she said. “And without you guys, we could not do that.”

Brislin told the new volunteers that she’s seen how outcomes for kids are greatly improved when they have a CASA volunteer on their case. “It’s going to be something that enriches not only the kids’ lives that you’re going to be working with, but it’s going to enrich your life, as well,” she said.

More Online Trainings Planned
CASA of Lexington has additional online trainings scheduled to begin on Sept. 21 and Oct. 12. Anyone interested in becoming a CASA volunteer can apply online at www.casaoflexington.org/advocates or ask for more information by emailing info@casaoflexington.org.

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