Jasper County CASA will appoint seven new volunteers Tuesday at the Jasper County Juvenile Center, 530 Pearl Ave. in Joplin.
CASA is a nationwide organization that provides abused or neglected children with court-appointed volunteer advocates in the hopes of getting the children to a better home. The Jasper County affiliate currently has 57 volunteers, which will become 64 after the ceremony.
“We are swearing in six women and one man. We have full-time undergraduate students in our class as well as retired professionals, previous foster parents and more,” said Kenedie Watchorn, volunteer coordinator with Jasper County CASA. “CASAs sign an oath sheet where they promise to fulfill all responsibilities ordered by the court to keep information confidential. After the ceremony, they are available to take their first case.”
More swearing-in ceremonies may be around the corner. Upcoming classes are scheduled for residents interested in volunteer opportunities with the organization.
“We will have the orientation for our upcoming class on April 6,” Watchorn said, adding that the class will meet Tuesdays through May 11. “In our class, we talk about the roles of CASA, how to write court reports, how to decipher best interest, domestic violence, poverty, cultural competence, child abuse, Children’s Division and many more topics.”
Jasper County CASA screens volunteers with interviews, background checks and professional references, Watchorn said. Those who pass the screening process can join a training session.
“Our classes have 30 hours’ worth of information," she said. "After class, they are sworn in, do a court observation and get their first case.”
Anyone interested in joining CASA can call the Jasper County office at 417-680-3250 or visit the group's website, jascocasa.org.