Hanover County’s newest class of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) was sworn in by Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Judge Shannon O. Hoehl on November 13.
The newest CASA members are Jenna Coyle, Amber Faniel, Elizabeth Rafferty, Linda Tyler and Josie Voorhies.
CASA volunteers advocate for the interests of abused and neglected children who are involved in cases being heard by the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. Last year, 35 children were served by volunteers who contributed nearly 1,178 hours of service to the youth served by the program.
“It literally is the first report I look at when I review one of these cases,” Judge Hoehl told the graduates, who added the CASA reports make it “much easier for me to understand what is going on in the life of the child you are serving.”
The volunteers were also thanked by John A. Budesky, County Administrator, and Melanie Baker, CASA program coordinator.
“Hanover CASA exists to be a voice for abused and neglected children in court, to educate the community on child welfare issues, and to advocate for safe and permanent homes for all children,” Budesky said. “I, along with my colleagues in the County Administrator’s Office as well as the Board of Supervisors, support and endorse the Hanover County CASA Program. Congratulations to our new CASA training class on your achievement and your dedication to the children of Hanover County.”
Baker noted that COVID-19 changed the manner in which the graduates were trained this year and expressed gratitude for their willingness to serve during a global pandemic.
“Our traditional in-person training was postponed to transition all of the training materials to an online format,” she said. “We all then became experts in navigating both Google Classroom and Zoom. They showed up every week for three hours at a time as well as an all day Saturday training for approximately 40 hours to sit in front of their computers to become Court Appointed Special Advocates.”
“Through all of the training all five of these citizens showed patience, understanding, flexibility, dedication, concern, and a willingness to learn – all great qualities for a Court Appointed Special Advocate,” Baker said. “I am very grateful to them as they have shown me such grace in traversing through these unprecedented times.”
For more information about Hanover’s CASA program, please call Melanie Baker, Coordinator, at 365-4296 or e-mail her at email@example.com.