Court Appointed Special Advocates of Grayson County added to its corps of trained volunteers this month. Four new CASA helpers were sworn in on March 14 by Judge Rayburn Nall of the 59th state District Court and Judge Brian Gary of the 397th state District Court.

Court Appointed Special Advocates of Grayson County added to its corps of trained volunteers this month. Four new CASA helpers were sworn in on March 14 by Judge Rayburn Nall of the 59th state District Court and Judge Brian Gary of the 397th state District Court.


The four first had to complete 30 hours of training to become a child’s voice in court for children who have been removed from their home due to abuse or neglect.


Newly minted CASA volunteers include Tony McDonald, Sherry Anderson, Mary Louise Frith and Heather Bullins.


A statement from CASA of Grayson County said each volunteer can request one Helping Heart to attend confidentiality training. Helping Hearts provide support and encouragement to their volunteer. New Helping Hearts sworn in include Donna McDonald, Terry Wiersgalla, Mike Kauffman and Michael Bullins.


The next training session starts April 18th. The training will take place at the CASA office in Sherman from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays for three weeks.


Each CASA volunteer is assigned to help one child or a set of siblings so they can focus on giving that child or sibling group the individualized advocacy and attention they need while in the foster care system.


CASA is seeking volunteers who have a heart for children and who can make a long-standing contribution.


The cases they are assigned to can take up to a year or more to complete and having that one stable, steady person by their side through it all is really important to children, said Natalie H. Jamison, assistant director of CASA of Grayson County.


CASA for Children.org says that requirements to be a CASA include the following:


• be 21 years old;


• be willing to complete necessary background checks, provide references and participate in an interview;


• complete a minimum of 30 hours of pre-service training;


• be available for court appearances, with advance notice;


• be willing to commit to the CASA program until your first case is closed.


Those interested might note that the above requirements didn’t include any specialized knowledge or training in social work, law or child development.


CASA volunteers gather information by reviewing documents and records and by interviewing children, family members and others who know the children. The volunteers then document that information for the court and appear in court with the information to advocate for the child’s best interest. While that work is important and can help the court determine what is best for the child, it is not all a CASA volunteer does.


The volunteers also work to find compromises between the people and organizations involved in a child’s case.


For more information about becoming a CASA volunteer, call CASA of Grayson County at 903-813-5400 or email Jamison at njamison@casagrayson.org.