The new National CASA Association Volunteer Training Curriculum will provide volunteers with a solid base of knowledge and skills to begin their work with abused and neglected children in the region.

NORTHEAST OKLAHOMA – New CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) training classes are being offered in September in Grove. These classes will be introducing the new CASA training materials for the first time. The new National CASA Association Volunteer Training Curriculum will provide volunteers with a solid base of knowledge and skills to begin their work with abused and neglected children.

Classes will be held at Har-Ber Village at 4404 W. 20th Street in Grove from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on four Saturdays in September (Sept. 9, 16, 23, and 30). Training includes 30 hours of classroom instruction plus approximately 10 hours of homework and courtroom observation.

Many more CASA volunteers are needed. In 2016, more than 15,000 cases of child abuse and neglect were reported by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. CASA volunteers are empowered by the courts and work to ensure these vulnerable children don’t “fall through the cracks” of the juvenile court system.

The goal of a CASA volunteer is to get to know the child and become familiar with everyone in the child’s life. They visit with parents and relatives, foster parents, teachers, medical professionals, attorneys, social workers and others. Then they use the information they gather to inform judges and others involved in the case of what the child needs and help ensure the child is placed in the best permanent home for them.

The bottom line is that CASA volunteers work to bring positive change to the lives of these vulnerable kids. To become a CASA Volunteer, you must be at least 21, pass a background check, complete the pre-service training course, and agree to stay with a case until it is closed (on average, about 18 months).

Volunteers are everyday citizens with a “heart for kids”. They are community people who want to help improve the quality of life for a child who has been removed from his or her family due to abuse or neglect. People from all walks of life are welcome. CASA simply needs people who care about children and have common sense.

Those interested in learning more about becoming a CASA volunteer or who want to sign up for the training classes can contact Gayle Hanson, Training Coordinator. Call Gayle at 785-623-6955 or 918-325-7202 or email her at gayle@cano-casa.com. In addition, information can be found on the CANO website: http://cano-casa.com/volunteer.

Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma (CANO)

Child Advocates of Northeastern Oklahoma is a CASA agency. With offices in Claremore and Miami, the organization supports CASA Volunteers in five counties in northeastern Oklahoma – Rogers, Mayes, Craig, Ottawa, and Delaware Counties.

CANO is a member agency of the United Way of Rogers and Mayes Counties and of Ottawa County United Way.