Manila Lions Club welcomes CASA advocate
Members of the Manila Lions Club welcomed Megan Brown, program manager for the CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of the 2nd Judicial District, and CASA volunteer Billie Sue Misner at the Wednesday, Aug. 9, meeting.
Lion President Wendell Poteet introduced the women who gave an informative talk about CASA and the role it plays for the children.
Lion Dan Robbins commented he had seen the results of the work Brown is doing and it is a wonderful mission.
Brown serves a five county area including Clay, Craighead, Greene, Mississippi and Poinsett Counties.
She talked about the need for volunteers. She said CASA of the 2nd Judicial District currently serves about half of the foster children.
“We need volunteers,” she said. “CASA volunteers are the eyes and ears for the judge and the voice for a child.”
Brown talked about the training for volunteers who get to know the child, parents and foster families.
Volunteers help judges made good decisions for the children. She said their ultimate goal is to reunite families, but sadly sometimes it is not what is best for the children.
Volunteers must be between the ages of 21 and 100; must have a heart for children; must be able to pass the background checks with state police, child abuse registry, and various others.
The training takes approximately 30 hours. The time necessary to complete the duties on individual cases is about 10 to 15 hours a month. Volunteers will meet with the children at least twice a month, more if they can.
Brown pointed out each volunteer will have an advocate coordinator for support and training. The next class begins in September.
Men, as well as women, volunteers are needed. Husbands and wives or friends can work together.
Misner said several young couples in her church have foster children.
“At my age I really was not interested in foster care,” Misner said. “Sara Robertson was at the church talking about CASA and God stirred my heart. I want to spend what time I have left wisely.”
She talked briefly about the work of a CASA volunteer. She also pointed out there is not financial benefit to the volunteers.
Brown said CASA volunteers are not allowed to transport the children.
“CASA has never had a volunteer attacked or injured,” she said. “Volunteers are advocates for the children. They should never put themselves in harm's way.”
CASA was founded in 1977.