CANYON CITY – Six new Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) volunteers are available to serve abused and neglected children in Grant County.
Rhiannon Bauman, Rich Boren, Amy Charette, Kristin Nodine, Valeen Madden, and Brain Delaney were sworn in Nov. 12 by Grant County Judge William D. Cramer, Jr.
The new volunteers underwent 30 hours of CASA training prior to the swearing-in ceremony.
They join four other CASAs, which means 94 percent of the children currently in foster care in Grant County will now have a CASA representing them.
Previously, only 33 percent of children in the county were served by an advocate, said Grant County CASA executive director Tracey Blood, who began her job last April.
CASAs are appointed to watch over abused and neglected children, to make sure they don’t get lost in the legal and social service system, and stay with each case until the child is placed in a safe, permanent home.
“With the help of a CASA, children get through the trauma of the foster care system safely, quickly and effectively,” Blood said.
She shared these points:
• Children in the court system can move from foster home to foster home an average of 6.6 times, but with the help of a CASA, experience less trauma by reducing that number to an average of 3.9 moves.
• A child is twice as likely to receive the counseling needed to treat serious issues due to abuse and neglect with a CASA advocating on their behalf.
• Children spend an average of 23 months in the foster care system. With a CASA advocate overseeing the process, the time can be reduced to an average of 15 months.
• Oregon tax payers spent $26,000 per child per year in foster care. With the help of a CASA, the child moves quickly through the system reducing the tax payers’ cost to $17,333 a year.
• Cases with a CASA are more likely to be permanently closed by finding a safe and permanent home so children do not re-enter the system.
Blood said the CASA volunteers are eager to make a positive difference in the lives of local children in foster care.
“I feel incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work with these dedicated volunteers in supporting young people in our community,” Blood said. “As I’ve become acquainted with these individuals ... I’ve come to realize just how exceptional the advocates and volunteers of Grant County truly are.”
For more information, call Grant County CASA at 541-575-5574.