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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
August 1, 2001     Feather River Bulletin
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August 1, 2001

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6B Wednesday, Aug. 1,2001 IR I By Victoria Metcalf Staff Writer Six volunteers are now un- dertaking the first 40-hour training in Plumas County for the new Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program. The CASA program was launched in Plumas County last year when Judge Garrett Olney decided to promote a court program, successful in many counties in the state and across the nation. "Judge Olney was very mo- tivated to have a local CASA program," said CASA Direc- tor Mark Pelter. His first mission in estab- lishing the program was to find a nonprofit organization in Quincy where the pro- gram could be housed. Learning of CASA, Plumas Crisis Intervention and Re- source Center Director Car- olyn Widman stepped for- ward and offered the assis- tance of her program, dedi- cated to meeting many needs of those in crisis situations. Kathy Rahmeyer, a grant writer for the Plumas Crisis Intervention and Resource Center, was successful in ob- taining a grant to launch CASA. Following a candidate search and interview process, Pelter was an- nounced as the new director in January. Since that time, Pelter has been learning how to imple- ment the program, designed to assist abused children who are in the court system through no fault of their own. By April, Pelter began seeking volunteers who were interested in receiving the training to become involved with court-appointed chil- dren in the CASA program. The need Pelter said that an unoffi- cial count of children who could conceivably use CASA services in Plumas County totals approximately 50. But not all of those children will be served by CASA. The judge is responsible for selecting children who are in the foster care system or subject to parental abuse for the CASA program, Pelter explained. At the time of selection, a trained CASA volunteer is given the child's name and Court News 8ulJetin, Judge Garrett Olney acknowledged the first graduates of the new CASA program Friday, July house. Graduates included Jana Burgess, Lori Davis Undford, Dawn Mathison, Walter Mathison, Cathy Rahmeyer and Aubree Taylor. As they were sworn in, program director Mark Pelter and child all legal information regard- la Crawford and Judy Buck looked on. The volunteer is also ex- tion efforts and how to best ing, or no ne, interferessulate. J 1,a ing the child's situation and pected to interview anyoneproceed with making those with the chilh receiving allThe local background. From the time a CASA who is connected with the efforts successful, and other available support, involved with worker accepts a child's case, child or children in order to recommendations. - CASA progra$ he or she becomes, in a sense, form a more complete picture According to Pelter, the Training process in operation forP that child's best friend in ob- of the child's circumstances. CASA volunteer has all theWithin the 40-hour train- At the end of the CASA vol- power of attorney, if not the ing program, Pelter said that Additional taining what is in the child's unteer's investigation, a re- education, when it comes to a wide variety of local pre- Members best interest. port is written, presented to dealing with the child whose senters provide information ing programal _. ., While the case can involve thejudge, and copies are pro- case they are concerned with. on Plumas programs that graduateJuly l:l/h an individual child, Pelter ses,'Orr said it may involve a family vided to the agencies that are And, as the CASA volun- will help volunteers with b i g planned of children. Even an unborn involved with the child, teer works with other agen- their jobs. child can become part of the Seventy.five percent of the cies in learning about theVolunteers also learn needsoflocalCl ,a f CASAsituation. time, according to Pelter, the child and exploring what is about the complexities of With six With a working knowledge judge follows the CASA rec- in the child's best interest, if dealing with the Indian soon available, of all the local programs, the ommendation about the any individual is less than Council Welfare Act regula- or families CASA volunteer has many child, receptive to cooperating, the tions involved when working first. ._/ links to help establish a bet- Some of these decisions volunteer can turn it over to with Native American chil-eFOr more tha CASA P ter lifestyle, and help make could be: removing the child the judge to have it dealtdren. good decisions with the from the home permanently,with. Training involves working rk Peltera child's welfare in mind. continuing with reunifica- This makes sure that noth- with the Nevada City con- By Victoria Metcalf children are in need of safe, Staff Writer permanent, nurturing Gifts of teddy bears and bi- homes," said Mark Pelter, di- cycles at Christmas may go a rector of Piumas County's long way toward brightening new Court Appointed Special the lives of some children, Advocates(CASA) program. but for others, it's the indi- "Too many spend years vidual time and attention a moving from one temporary CASA volunteer gives that home to another," states in- literally can save a child's formation from the national life. CASA program, established "Every year more than in 1977. "They have no family 599. , .abu gd.: d ggalecte , to call their own." And, in looking beyond the faces to the statistics, these children, whose needs go un- met, are more likely to face h0melessness, unemploy- ment and prison when they reach adulthood. Keeping as many children safe and intercepting with new thoroughly researched recommendations are the goals of CASA volunteers as they attempt to m ee,t the needs of some of the children Working without affiP.ations ety of quail in the United States. to other county, state or fed- skills that One of the primary con- eral programs involved with ability to cerns of a CASA volunteer children, the CASA volun- a child.. assigned to a child or family teer's soul purpose is to work As apart of't L of children is to make sure in the child's best interest, unteer traini / that abuse doesn't continue and work toward providing a that material in the home, and that the sys- safe and loving home for the cannot be tern the child falls into child, of their time doesn't neglect their best in- Volunteers are needed far more im terests, from all educational back-ing. Volunteers who work for grounds, from any ethnic CAS&.are e~e:Fyda,y paelale.;4_~r~at~la, and with a wide ~triS-~ ~- ~ ~'~ .~" COPENHAGEN CIGARETTES 75 HWY. 395 N . RENO (775) 972-1309 * 1-800-443.4383