Judge Welborn swears in her first class of CASA volunteers

Published 6:11 pm Monday, April 3, 2023

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By BETH CHAMPAN | Special to the Reporter

Judge Erin Welborn, Shelby County’s newest judge, swore in her first class of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) volunteers since taking office in January, filling the seat of longtime Judge Jim Kramer.

The ceremony was held at the CASA Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon on Sunday, April 2 at Aldridge Gardens in Hoover. A total of 40 CASA volunteers were on hand for the ceremony.

Those being sworn in were Raylene Gaddis, Melynda Keller, Evangeline Limon, Debbie McPhearson, Michelle Stewart and Misty Potter. Perry Crabtree was unable to attend and will be sworn in at a later date.

After training is completed and the volunteers are sworn in, they will become officers of the court and are assigned a case of an abused and neglected child/ren. The CASA Volunteer follows the case, goes through the court process with the child/ren, writes a court report, investigates the facts of the case and does specific information gathering for the Judge.

“Without CASA volunteers and the work they do, I would only have a portion of the information I need,” Welborn said. “CASA Volunteers provide valuable information I could not get otherwise because I cannot go into the homes of these children and CASA Volunteers can.”

Welborn continued by saying that CASA is the only organization of its kind in Shelby County and that their services are vitally important to her court, the community and the children they serve.

CASA recruits and trains volunteers to go through the court process with abused and neglected children. They also provide free parenting classes and supervised visitations at the Patricia M. Smith CASA House on West College Street in Columbiana.

CASA volunteers are the “eyes and ears” of the court and provide a “voice” for the children they represent.

CASA is funded in part by The Children’s Trust Fund and a Shelby County Community Grant.

For more information on CASA and how you can help abused and neglected children, visit Casaofshelbycounty.org or call 205-980-4466.