Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) to serve Quapaw Tribe under new agreement.

QUAPAW - Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma (CANO) has announced a formal agreement with the Quapaw Tribe to provide Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for abused and neglected children under their tribal jurisdiction. CANO staff and volunteers are excited about expanding their services to the Quapaw children.

A tribal judge will assign CASA volunteers to cases of child abuse and neglect within the tribal court system. Once assigned to a case, the CASA volunteers have the power to observe the child’s situation, report to the court, make recommendations and ask for changes that are in the best interest of the child. That child will have a “new voice” in the courtroom and a better chance of finding a safe, loving forever home.

Jon D. Douthitt, District Court Judge for the Quapaw Tribal Court, was instrumental in getting the agreement formalized and expressed his confidence in the partnership in service to Quapaw children.

“Children can be lost in the shuffle during legal proceedings that will profoundly affect them," said Douthitt. "CASA works to make sure that these children’s interests are protected and that the impact of the court proceedings on them is reduced to the extent possible.”

In the 1800's, the Quapaw Tribe, like so many other tribes, was relocated to a reservation in Oklahoma Territory. Most of the Quapaw people still live in the state today. The Tribe's headquarters, located in Quapaw, lies within the 13th Judicial District which CANO currently serves. This expansion into the Quapaw Tribal Court is a “win-win” for all involved.

“This is an important step in assuring all Tribal members’ children and other citizens’ children are safe and well cared for in our communities," said Quapaw Chairman John Berrey. "This goes to the heart of our values, as family-oriented people. So, we are honored to be part of the CASA system.”

CANO Board President Susan Young added, “The board members of CANO are very happy to have the opportunity to provide CASA services to the Quapaw tribe. We look forward to working with Judge Douthitt, Chairman Berrey, and the Quapaw Tribal Courts to assure the safety and security of all the tribe’s children.”

Those interested in learning more about becoming a CASA volunteer or who want to sign up for CASA training classes can contact Training Coordinator Gayle Hanson at 785-623-6955 or 918-923-4570 or by email at gayle@cano-casa.com.

CANO is a CASA agency with offices in Miami and Claremore. The organization supports CASA volunteers in five counties in northeastern Oklahoma – Craig, Delaware, Mayes, Ottawa, and Rogers Counties.

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

Additional information about CASA also can be found on the CANO website http://cano-casa.com/volunteer.