Judge Welborn swears in new CASA volunteers

Published 2:28 pm Wednesday, July 19, 2023

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A new class of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Shelby County will soon be working on court cases of abused and neglected children in our community.

Six new CASA volunteers became official officers of the court when they were sworn in by Juvenile Court Judge Erin Welborn in her courtroom on Tuesday, July 18.

The new CASA volunteers that were sworn in were Carol Anne Brown, Vickie Hemphill, Alexis Johnson, Jennifer Ludwick, Candice Morris and Pat Ponder.

“CASA volunteers are vital to the work of my court and the children and families we serve,” Welborn said. “CASA provides a crucial role in the process of ensuring these children have a safe and permanent home.”

The CASA volunteers participated in a five-week training program studying a national curriculum and preparing to manage local court cases. Once given a case, they follow it through the process, oftentimes writing court reports, gathering facts and interviewing interested parties. CASA volunteers provide information to the judge she might not get otherwise.

CASA not only recruits and trains volunteers to go through the court process with abused and neglected children, but they also offer free parenting classes and supervised visits at the Patricia M. Smith CASA House in Columbiana.

CASA is the only organization of its kind in Shelby County. CASA volunteers presently serve 61 families and 97 children in our community.

Those interested in being a CASA volunteer can visit Casaofshelbycounty.org for more information or calling 205-243-8753.

CASA of Shelby County is funded in part by the Children’s Trust Fund and a Shelby County Community Grant. Those who wish to fund CASA can attend their upcoming lunch and autograph party with internet and cooking sensation, Brenda Gantt.

For more information on the fundraiser, visit Casaofshelbycounty.org/event.