We closed out the first half of the year’s training sessions with 15 new advocates graduating in Henniker at the end of June.These advocates completed the 40 hours of required training that taught them all of the tools necessary for their next steps.
During training, new advocates are provided extensive resources and knowledge beneficial to succeeding in the role they’ve selflessly committed to. They meet current volunteers with plenty of advice they can use when they begin advocating. They meet a DCYF supervisor who gives an overview of their role and how CASA and DCYF intersects. They role play court hearings. They learn about addiction, abuse, and the importance of managing personal biases in unfamiliar situations. CASA provides plenty of support and assistance for new advocates before and during their case.
CASA volunteer advocates have a huge influence on the future of New Hampshire children in need. Judges even say that CASA’s are some of the most knowledgeable voice in the court room due to the time and devotion our advocates put into each individual case. With monthly visits and check-ins with the children and all important adults in the child’s life, CASAs are able to build positive relationships with these children that allows them to represent their best interest and needs. They help ensure that even with changing caseworkers, placements and family dynamics, the voice of the child is still heard.
Among the group of 15 new advocates, were summer legal intern Tess Farley and veteran CASA Dorothy Wondolowski who asked to sit in on classes around the state and take in the new curriculum, which has changed since she trained in 2009.
Due to New Hampshire’s opioid epidemic, the number of child abuse and neglect cases has increased by more than 40 percent over the last few years. As children continue to enter the system at alarming rates, we need more CASA volunteer advocates to speak up for victimized children. If you’re interested in becoming a CASA, check out our upcoming training schedule here. Our summer class in Manchester begins July 23 and a full slate of trainings statewide ramps up in September.
See messages below from our newest volunteer advocates that they wrote to their future CASA kids in training.