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Advocates for abused/neglected children sworn in during special ceremony
WAYNESBURG, PA. – A special swearing-in ceremony was held recently at the Greene County Courthouse for seven volunteers who are committed to helping area children impacted by abuse and/or neglect.
Greene County Judge Farley Toothman oversaw the investiture of the seven certified volunteers for CASA – Court Appointed Special Advocates – during the ceremony held on June 11.
Sworn in were Tonya Black, Cathie Carpenter, Lew Crouse, Heather Pioch, Colleen Valosen, Sara Von Scio and Sue Wise.
Rebecca Matchett, CASA of Greene County Program Director, explained that volunteers who complete the required training, become certified and are sworn in are then able to assist CASA in cases involving reports of critical abuse and/or neglect toward children that are appointed to CASA to by the Courts.
“CASA strongly advocates for safe, loving, permanent homes for children, and we ensure that all of the children’s needs are met while they are in foster care,” she said. “That is why volunteers are so important … they provide a voice for the child.”
According to Matchett, for many abused children, their CASA volunteer will be the one constant adult presence in their lives during a troubled time; as volunteers, CASA advocates provide consistent adult presence until the child has a permanent home.
Matchett said CASA currently provides services to 20 area children, and more certified volunteers will help the agency’s goal, which she says “is that every area child facing abuse and/or neglect has a Court Appointed Special Advocate.”
The seven volunteers join others who were previously sworn in to help CASA. Currently, there are 15 trained and certified CASA volunteers, and Matchett said the agency is always seeking volunteers.
To become certified, volunteers are required to complete 30 hours of training provided by CASA; the training covers a wide array of topics pertaining to advocating for dependent youths.
Matchett said the next training session will be held in August at the CASA office, which is located at 52 S. Church St. in Waynesburg. The four sessions will be held on Monday, Aug. 5; Wednesday, Aug. 7; Monday, Aug. 12; and Wednesday, Aug. 14. Each session will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 4 p.m.
For more information about enrolling the volunteer training session, call Matchett at 724-833-2615.
CASA board members and several volunteers previously sworn in were in attendance for the June 11 ceremony, along with Greene County Commissioner Dave Coder and Stacey Courtwright, Administrator for Greene County Children and Youth Services.
CYS, CASA, the county’s Court system and the Commissioners all work together to help area children in need; Matchett said their cases involve children who are already involved with Greene County CYS and the Courts, and in April the Commissioners approved an allocation to CASA to help them with their mission.
Courtwright said she was happy to attend the June 11 swearing-in ceremony.
“It was exciting to see some many individuals willing to volunteer for such a great cause,” she said. “The collaboration between CASA and CYS has worked out really well with the primary focus always being on the best interest of the children.”
Pictured (l. to r.), back row: Greene County Commissioner Dave Coder; CYS Administrator Stacey Courtwright; sworn in CASA advocates Sara Von Scio, Sue Wise, Colleen Valosen and Tonya Black; Greene County Judge Farley Toothman; and sworn in CASA advocates Heather Pioch, Lew Crouse and Cathie Carpenter.
Front row: Rebecca Matchett, CASA of Greene County Program Director; and Danielle Deery, CASA of Greene County Board President.