CASA, a non-profit group that speaks for children in Northeast Georgia, is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this month with a special honor.
CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate.
Earlier this month, the group was awarded the 2014 Established Program Award of Excellence at the Georgia CASA State Conference.
Michelle Mitchell is the Executive Director for the Northeast Georgia CASA chapter based in Toccoa.
Mitchell said the chapter was recognized in several areas.
”Serving the number of children we (now) have. We have grown to more than 800 children during the past ten years,” Mitchell said. Growing the program. We have grown to now include not only the Mountain (Judicial) Circuit, but the Northern Circuit as well. So, we serve about 80% of the children in those eight counties.”
The Northeast Georgia chapter of CASA serves children in five additional counties, including Elbert, Hart, Franklin, Stephens, Madison, Oglethorpe and Rabun counties.
Mitchell said the group was also recognized for its work in fundraising, volunteer growth and leadership.
“Certainly, we’ve done well as far as our volunteers, the numbers we have to serve the children, just the quality of the advocacy that we provide,” she said. “And the financial stability so that we can serve all those children. ”
CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to watch over and advocate for abused and neglected children, to make sure they don’t get lost in the legal system or in inappropriate foster or group homes.
The volunteers stay with each case until it’s closed and the child is safe.
Mitchell said a special anniversary reception is planned for next week to honor CASA volunteers.