Sidney Kiwanis Club hears from CASA/GAL director

Staff report

SIDNEY — Bridget Davis, director of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Shelby County, addressed the Kiwanis Club of Sidney, Feb. 8.

Davis spoke on the importence of CASA/GAL to the children of Shelby County. CASA volunteers have been trained to advocate in court in the best interests of abused or neglected children.

Currently, Shelby County has 26 volunteers with handling court cases. The actual number of children being served is greater, however, as the siblings of children being served also benefit from the efforts of CASA. Last year, CASA served 133 children, a record number for Shelby County, Davis said.

Anyone 21 or older with at least a high school diploma or GED who pass a background check can become a CASA volunteer. There are training sessions at least once a year and recruiting efforts are ongoing. Training includes onsite and online classes. A total of 30 hours of training and 12 hours of continuous volunteer work each year are required.

Shelby County CASA/GAL is a nonprofit agency. In 2002, there were five volunteers advocating for 34 children with one staff member. In 2010, there were 28 volunteers who advocated for 133 children and three staff members. Shelby county receives funds through the juvenile court system, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office through VOCA and SVAA grants, the Ohio CASA Association, Shelby County United Way and the annual fundraiser, Dancing With Our Stars, scheduled this year for March 25 at the Palazzo, 309 S. Main St., Botkins, at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale now for $25 and they can be purchased at Alvetro Orthodontics, Panache Day Spa and Sidney-Shelby County YMCA. There are six couples dancing for votes. Marisa and Jon Couchot, Derek and Jenna Fink, Frank and Jessica Guillozet, Betsy Martin and Isaiah Pleiman, Tom and Angela Martin and Gus Zwiebel and Lynn Shough. Votes are accumulated with every dollar donated.

Staff report