Shelby County CASA receives ‘A’ rating

CASA Volunteers spend time with Judge Jim Kramer, right, for in-service training. (Contributed)

CASA Volunteers spend time with Judge Jim Kramer, right, for in-service training. (Contributed)

FROM STAFF REPORTS

The Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Shelby County has received an “A” rating by the director of the Alabama CASA Network in a recent site visit. CASA of Shelby County is one of 13 CASA programs in the state and one of the longest-serving and most progressive.

The site visit and evaluation was conducted Sept. 15 and 16, and Shelby County CASA passed with “flying colors,” according to Maggie Blaedow, Alabama CASA Network executive director. She also stated to the board of directors that Juvenile Judge Jim Kramer was doing “outstanding work” with the program.

When addressing the board of directors, Blaedow referred to CASA of Shelby County as an “enhanced” CASA program. Not only are they a traditional CASA program, but they go a step further, training their volunteers to provide supervised visitation. They have also added an additional parent training component as part of the services they offer.

“Our program goes beyond the call of duty to ensure the best interests of the children we serve are met,” said Kramer. “CASA of Shelby County has been around a long time and many children’s lives have been vastly improved as a result. In many ways they have prevented child abuse and neglect and that’s a great thing any time that can be done,” Kramer concluded.

CASA of Shelby County is a non-profit organization that strives first and foremost to prevent child abuse and neglect and to recruit and train volunteers to go through the court process with children who have been abused. Their long-term goal is to ensure that every child has a safe and permanent home.

CASA Board President Gail Acton said she was thrilled with the outcome of the site visit stating, “We strive to prevent child abuse and neglect and to assist those children who have been abused. While we regret that our services are needed, we are proud to provide quality services, and that we have been recognized as being a program worthy of an “A” rating. We will continue to perform at that level.”

“The real winners of the CASA Program’s excellent review are the children they serve and the lives that they change,” Kramer said.

CASA of Shelby County receives funding from the Children’s Trust Fund, a Shelby County Community Grant, The Daniel Foundation and their annual Roast fundraiser. They are an Associate Member of United Way of Central Alabama.

For more information on how you can become a CASA Volunteer, please visit CASAofshelbycounty.org or call 995-4466.