Silence can’t be tolerated.
Abused and neglected children, way too often, don’t have the voice they need to make their lives better.
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) in Marion County are committed to changing that situation.
The goal in the state is “to assure quality volunteer advocacy for every abused/neglected child in the West Virginia court system.”
The national volunteer movement began in 1977, when a Seattle judge conceived the idea of using trained community volunteers to speak for the best interests of abused and neglected children in court. The judge wanted the detailed information he needed to safeguard the children's best interests and ensure that they were placed in safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible.
Getting committed, well-trained volunteers is critical for the success of CASA, and four Marion County residents joined the program last week. Charlotte Anderson, Donna Blaney, Tenille Wyer and Cheryl Wilmoth took their oaths in Marion Circuit Court Judge David R. Janes’ courtroom at the Marion County Courthouse.
Janes appreciates the work of the volunteers.
“You are the voice of the children,” he said. “I rely greatly on you all as well as the other witnesses in the process. I’m a firm believer that when everyone does their job and works independently, then all the pieces will come together.”
Kim Baker, director of CASA, knows how much volunteers are needed.
“There are cases waiting on CASA,” she said. “Unfortunately, in Marion County we do not have enough volunteers for all the cases on the court’s docket.”
Before volunteers with the organization act as the voice of abused and neglected children who are involved in the court system, they go through more than 30 hours of training and several background checks.
Then, once they are sworn in, they receive the cases they will be working on.
Baker said volunteers start by doing an independent assessment of what is in the best interest of the child they are working with.
“That’s what they’re trained to do, to advocate on the behalf of the child in the courtroom,” she said. “They’re the bridge of communication for what the child’s needs are to the other professionals. They’re a support system.”
Volunteers will do everything from talking with the child’s neighbor or teacher to visiting with the child throughout the experience. They will also talk to the child about how they’re feeling and advocate for them.
“They get to know everyone who is involved in the case and talk with everyone involved,” Baker said.
Baker said the benefits of having CASA volunteers working with children is that their only focus is on the particular child.
“The volunteers have made a commitment to that child until he or she has found a permanent living situation,” she said. “Our CASAs only have one case at a time; they’re easily accessible to get that child’s needs met.”
Wilmoth said that she wants to be the voice for children who don’t have one in the court system.
“There are kids whose parents really don’t stand up for or care for them,” she said. “Some don’t advocate for their child, and I felt like I wanted to stand in that gap for kids who need someone to speak out for them.”
Do you want to help children get the assistance they deserve? There are no special educational or professional requirements, but advocates must be 21 years old. CASA of Marion County, located at 112 Adams St., Room 203-A, Fairmont, can be contacted at 304-366-4198 or through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Silence from abused or neglected children in the court system simply can’t be tolerated.
Silence can’t be tolerated.
Prevention must remain focus when dealing with cruel black lung disease
“Preventable, but not curable.”
That’s how Joe Main, assistant secretary of labor for Mine Safety and Health, describes black lung disease.
He could also use the word “deadly.”
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, black lung has killed more than 76,000 miners since 1968.
If something seems too good to be true, then assume that it is
Scam. noun. A confidence game or other fraudulent scheme, especially for making a quick profit; swindle.
This is a word that Marion Countians have heard a lot about in the past few years. And the problem appears to be one that is getting worse every day.
State must convince parents, schools about benefits of Common Core
It’s always nice to have a little bit of background information before diving into something new.
So we have to agree with West Virginia Board of Education president Gayle Manchin when she says the state should have done a better job of explaining Common Core standards when they were first introduced.
Those standards, part of a national educational initiative that sets learning goals designed to prepare students in kindergarten through 12th grade for college and career, will be fully implemented in every West Virginia school district next month.
Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway
U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.
United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project
The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.
COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard
I love to talk to readers.
I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.
Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial
NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.
Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives
It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.
Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely
The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.
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