Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2006, $49,361)
Sowega Court Appointed Special Advocates, Inc. (CASA) serves victims of child abuse and neglect in the Southwestern Judicial Circuit. The circuit consists of six southwest Georgia Counties, including Sumter, Lee, Macon, Schley, Stewart and Webster. The mission of the program is to recruit, train, and supervise community volunteers who are appointed by a Judge to speak in the best interests of an abused or neglected child involved in the juvenile court deprivation proceeding. In 2005, 242 children received Child Protective/Placement services (Source: Child Welfare in Georgia, 2005 Statistical House Bill 1406 Report) and appeared before the court to determine their future. CASA volunteers make recommendations to the Judge about the child's placement ' placement in a safe and permanent home where the effects of child maltreatment and lack of permanency can be minimized. Funds have been secured to provide 23 volunteers for 100 children but a gap of 40 remains. The gap will be overcome with 35 volunteers serving 137 children by June 30, 2008. The long range goal of the program is to have a volunteer advocate for every child coming before the court.