By Kristin Bednarski
Clermont County Juvenile Court Judge Stephanie Wyler swore in six court appointed special advocates to serve with CASA For Clermont Kids Jan. 17.
CASA For Clermont Kids is a non-profit agency focused on the the best interests of abused, neglected or dependent children who have been introduced into the Clermont County Juvenile Court system.
The agency trains volunteers each year to become special advocates and work with children involved in the court system.
“It’s very easy to support Amanda and CASA,” Judge Stephanie Wyler said about Amanda List, the executive director of CASA For Clermont Kids, and the agency.
Wyler swore in six women as court appointed special advocates, or CASAs, during the short ceremony Jan. 17.
The advocates included Laura Calhoun, Sondra Chaney, Kayla Hickman, Sarah Prarat, Rachel Richardson and Deborah Schauer. Tonia Steinkamp also completed the training but was sworn in at a later date.
“Congratulations, you are CASAs,” Wyler said.
List took a moment to thank both the women who became CASAs and their many family members who attended the ceremony.
“We are so grateful for you for sharing your loved ones with us,” List said.
The women had to complete 40 hours of training and commit two years of their lives to become an advocate. They also had to commit to up to 12 hours a month of case activity.
In addition to working with assigned children each month, CASA advocates present factual information about their cases during court hearings.
Laura Calhoun, one of the advocates, said her job as an advocate will involve working with an assigned child at least once a month.
“We report back to the court with the children’s best interest at heart,” Calhoun said.
Calhoun said she hopes to help improve outcome for children working with them as an advocate.
“I am really passionate about youth and children,” Calhoun said about why she decided to complete the training. “This was the next logical step.”
Sarah Prarat, another advocate, agreed that she went through training to create better opportunities for children.
“I just hope to get them in a better place,” Prarat said about serving as an advocate.
Prarat and Calhoun said they are excited to have completed the training and are looking forward to working with the children.
“We are just anxious to get started and contribute,” Calhoun said.
For more information about CASA For Clermont Kids visit www.casaforclermontkids.com.