Foster child advocate group earns certification

The Clallam County Court Appointed Special Advocate program was certified this month by the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association.

It recognizes that the county's program complies with the national CASA's high standards for quality child advocacy.

Clallam County CASA has 38 volunteers to act as a voice in court for the more than 150 Clallam County children in foster care.

According to Michael Piraino, CEO of the national association, "The National CASA quality assurance process is very rigorous and reflects our commitment to ensure every child we serve has the most powerful volunteer advocate working on their behalf.

"This certification says Clallam County CASA has demonstrated to us a strong capacity to provide excellent services to the abused and neglected children within their community."

In 1976, a Seattle judge, concerned about making decisions about abused and neglected children's lives without sufficient information, conceived the idea of using trained community volunteers to speak for the best interests of these children in court, helping to ensure they will live in a safe and loving environment.

The Seattle program was so successful that soon judges across the country began using citizen advocates.

In 1990, Congress encouraged the expansion of the Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardians ad Litem program with passage of the Victims of Child Abuse Act.

Reach Brian Gawley at

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