The Shelby County CASA/GAL Program Receives National Certification Recognizing the Quality of Its Work for Abused and Neglected Children
The Shelby County CASA/GAL Program was awarded certification in October 2009 by the National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association. This certification recognizes that the Shelby County CASA/GAL Program is in compliance with National CASA’s high standards for quality child advocacy. The program is in good standing until October 2013 at which time the program will have to complete the process again.
According to Michael Piraino, CEO of the National CASA Association, “The National CASA quality assurance process is very rigorous, and reflects our commitment to ensure every child we serve has the most powerful volunteer advocate working on their behalf. This certification says the Shelby County CASA/GAL Program has demonstrated to us a strong capacity to provide excellent services to the abused and neglected children within their community.”
Juvenile Judge William R. Zimmerman states, “Bridget Davis (Program Director) leads a dedicated group of CASA volunteers whose goal is to protect the best interests and needs of children involved in abused and neglect cases. Shelby County is fortunate to have this nationally recognized program.” Shelby County started a volunteer advocate program in 1999 and in 2002 the program adopted the name, “Shelby County CASA/GAL Program.”
ABOUT THE NATIONAL CASA ASSOCIATION: In 1976, concerned over making decisions about abused and neglected children’s lives without sufficient information, a Seattle judge conceived the idea of using trained community volunteers to speak for the best interests of these children in court, helping to ensure that they will live in a safe and loving environment. So successful was this Seattle program, that soon judges across the country began utilizing citizen advocates. In 1990, the U.S. Congress encourages the expansion of CASA/GAL with passage of the Victims of Child Abuse Act. Today, there are more than 950 National CASA members programs across the country, with more than 70,000 men and women serving as CASA or Guardian Ad Litem volunteers.