SOMERS POINT — The Honorable M. Susan Sheppard, presiding judge, virtually swore in 11 local residents as Court Appointed Special Advocates on Sept. 1. The graduation ceremony was the culmination of 35 hours of instruction in child advocacy, the family court system and cultural competency. As Court Appointed Special Advocates, they will meet with and advocate on behalf of children and youth living in the foster care system and recommend resources and services regarding the youth’s education, medical and overall wellbeing. The ultimate goal is to ensure that the children attain safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible.
The new CASAs are: Linda Brennan, of Mays Landing; Valerie Saltkill, of Mays Landing; Jeannie Lee, of Wildwood; Tracy Wilt, of Galloway Township; Monica Capuano, of Ocean City; Ashley Noble, of Galloway Township; Lisa Goodwin, of Absecon; Mary Clark, of West Cape May; Debra Agresta-Ungaro, of Egg Harbor Township; Kristin Burch, of Ocean City; and Jody Davis, of Linwood.
“We are so thankful that these individuals stepped forward to take the role of advocate for children living in foster care,” said Jennifer Valentine, director of program services. “Their advocacy will have a profound effect of the lives of children and youth in our community. These new CASAs are starting a journey that will help change the stories of the children they meet and in the process their lives will be changed as well.”
CASAs meet with everyone on the child’s case, including teachers, caseworkers, counselors and health care providers and gather information into objective court reports. Each report, submitted to the family courts at every hearing, contains recommendations for services and resources regarding the child’s education, medical and overall wellbeing.
Individuals interested in becoming a CASA should attend one of our monthly Information Sessions held at the CASA office at 321 Shore Road, Somers Point, N.J. and in the community. For more information call 609-601-7800 or visit AtlanticCapeCASA.org.
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