Local Residents to Serve Child Abuse and Neglect Victims

By Jayne Ann Bugda | jbugda@pahomepage.com

Published 05/28 2014 11:53PM

Updated 05/29 2014 12:12AM

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Susquehanna Valley CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) – Voices for Children inducted a new corps of trained volunteers to serve local children who have been victims of caregiver abuse and/or neglect.  The induction ceremony occurred on Thursday, May 15, 2014 at the Union County Government Center.

 The Honorable Michael H. Sholley, President Judge and The Honorable Harold F. Woelful, Jr., Senior Judge presided over the ceremony and Union County Commissioner Preston R. Boop addressed the volunteers.

The new inductees are: Beverly Bayer (Danville), Donald Endrizzi (Paxinos), Timothy Fahy (Mifflinburg), Pamela Hendricks (New Columbia), Deborah Rathbun (Lewisburg), Keith Smalley (Lewisburg) and Marie Wagner (Lewisburg). 

“We are excited to welcome these seven individuals to our organization,” said Judith Jones, Executive Director of Susquehanna Valley CASA – Voices for Children, a non-profit organization serving Lycoming, Northumberland, Union and Snyder counties, “Their dedication and passion will be of great benefit to the local children they advocate for.”

Susquehanna Valley CASA – Voices for Children is a volunteer-powered network of committed citizens – from all walks of life – who are specially trained to fight for abused and neglected children, to make sure their basic rights and essential needs are not overlooked or ignored by the overburdened foster care and child welfare systems.

 CASA volunteers assist the Courts in determining what is in the best interest of the child.  Through objective, child-focused investigations, they develop and present their recommendations to the Court to aid in establishing a safe, permanent and nurturing home in an expeditious manner.  “With a CASA volunteer, a child is half as likely to languish in the foster care and child welfare systems, and that much more likely to find a safe, permanent home,” said Jones. 

Currently, there are over 50 children in the local area who are waiting for a CASA volunteer.  Says Jones, “Unfortunately, the demand for CASA volunteers by the Courts outpaces our supply of volunteers.  We are always looking for people who care about children, and who can gather information and make sensible recommendations to join our organization.

 Despite our varied backgrounds – retirees, educators, business professionals, health care professionals, lawyers to name just a few – we share a common belief that all children deserve a safe, permanent and nurturing home, and a desire to use our voice to help the children achieve that.”

 Individuals interested in becoming a CASA volunteer are asked to contact the Susquehanna Valley CASA – Voices for Children office at (570) 988-2200 or voicesforchildren@susquehannavalleycasa.com.

(Information from Judith Jones, Susquehanna Valley CASA – Voices for Children)

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