November 18, 2012

Letter: Looking after the best interests of children

For the sixth year in a row, the nonprofit organization Voices for Georgia’s Children (Voices) is proud to recognize the state’s top child advocates at its Big Voice for Children Awards dinner, which was held Friday, Nov. 9, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Atlanta.

Among Voices’ honorees is Georgia CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) and its network. This award comes as Georgia CASA celebrates 25 years of service in Georgia.

The Big Voice for Children Awards honors individuals and organizations that have improved children’s lives as vocal advocates for change. This event also serves to elevate the importance of policy and advocacy in improving the lives of children, recognizes community members who have been effective advocates for children, and engages local communities and the media in recognizing the honorees and the important work of advocacy. Georgia CASA and its network of affiliate CASA programs have provided exceptional support to Georgia’s children through work to develop and support these court-sanctioned, community-based affiliate programs that provide trained and supervised volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children involved in juvenile court deprivation proceedings.

Locally, in the past year, Murray/Whitfield CASA volunteer advocates were the voices for 106 of the approximate 250 children in the Murray and Whitfield County foster care systems.   The current CASA team consists of 30 dedicated, active volunteers. Additional advocates are needed and volunteer training is available.  

Georgia CASA is among a distinguished group of past and present Big Voice honorees with outstanding accomplishments in child advocacy. On Nov. 9, Georgia CASA shared the stage with the following other winners: Bill Bolling (founder and CEO of the Atlanta Community Food Bank) and several community-nominated honorees, including Elaine Draeger (president and CEO, Sheltering Arms), Tim Johnson (executive director, Family Connection/Communities in Schools of Athens) and Patricia Nobbie (deputy director, Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities).

Sandy Martin-Ales

Murray/Whitfield CASA


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