Gorge CASA Welcomes Newest Volunteers

New Gorge CASA volunteers are (l-r): Caree DeBorde, Jason Beaver, Judge Olson, Ami Trosley, Jacob Haan, Kirah Doerr, and Traci Witkowski. (Submitted photo)

Columbia Gorge CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) introduced its newest child advocates: Jason Beaver and Ami Trosley, Stevenson; Kirah Doerr, Rebekah Fisher, and Traci Witkowski, The Dalles, and; Caree DeBorde and Jacob Haan, Hood River.

The group was sworn into duty by the Honorable John A. Olson in Hood River on Nov. 1 after completing 32 hours of training. After leading the CASA oath and welcoming the newest advocates into duty Judge Olson described many of the attributes he feels CASAs bring to the court, and pertinent information concerning a child CASAs bring to the court’s attention.

CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to watch over and advocate for children in the foster care system; to make sure children receive needed services, that timelines are met so that children don’t get lost in overburdened legal and social service systems, and that they are placed in permanent, loving homes as soon as possible.

CASAs are in a unique position as the only legal party whose job is to advocate for the best interests of children’s lives while in foster care.

Judges rely on the comprehensive and informed information provided by CASA volunteers. CASAs have tremendous privilege and responsibility to have a positive impact on a child’s case.

Last year, more than 76,000 CASA volunteers helped more than 251,000 abused and neglected children find safe, permanent homes. CASA volunteers are everyday citizens who have undergone screening and training and independent research has demonstrated that children with a CASA/GAL volunteer are substantially less likely to spend time in long-term foster care and less likely to re-enter care.

Columbia Gorge CASA serves children in Hood River, Wasco, and Sherman counties; advocates serve children in care so that they might have the chance to live and develop in a safe, nurturing environment. Volunteers receive 32 hours of pre-service training using the National CASA Volunteer Training Curriculum.

New advocate training sessions will begin in January 2019. Persons interested in learning more about the CASA program can contact Michelle Mayfield, training coordinator, or Susan Baldwin, volunteer manager, at 541-386-3468. www.gorgecasa.org

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