Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteers were recognized and celebrated for their service in dependency proceedings in the San Juan County Superior Court on Thursday, June 28.
The gathering doubled as a celebration of Family Reunification Month, which was declared by the Washington Commission on Children in Foster Care.
Judge Katie Loring presented a proclamation recognizing Family Reunification Day and Family Reunification Month, followed by speeches from Juvenile Court Services Administrator Linnea Anderson and CASA Supervisor and Trainer Lenore Bayuk. Anderson and Bayuk acknowledged other CASA members with certificates and words of appreciation. Anderson described Bayuk, who has been a CASA volunteer since the 1980s, as a “hopeful and steady” leader. Bayuk proudly noted that she has never had any CASA volunteer quit in her experience, proving the dedication of these people who have busy family lives of their own.
The CASA program started in Washington State in 1977 by a Seattle juvenile court judge and has spread to 49 states with nearly 1,000 active CASA programs. According to casaforchildren.org, CASA volunteers are “… appointed by judges to watch over and advocate for abused and neglected children, to make sure they don’t get lost in the overburdened legal and social service system or languish in inappropriate group or foster homes.”
“The one person who remains stable in [a] child’s life while their going through one of the most uprooted experiences of their life, is going to be their CASA volunteer,” says Anderson.
To learn more about the CASA Association and volunteering opportunities, visit www.casaforchildren.org.