OKLAHOMA CITY -- Beginning today, Court Appointed Special Advocates of Oklahoma County is asking the community to step forward and join the ranks of their volunteers during a diversity-focused awareness campaign.

"Community Response 2019" will continue CASA's commitment to understanding and honoring the diversity of all children and families served by the organization through a variety of recruitment activities throughout Oklahoma County. CASA seeks to develop and nurture a diverse and inclusive volunteer base that respects and engages community volunteers across the Oklahoma County community.

CASA works in conjunction with the juvenile court system to provide trained volunteer advocates to be champions for the individualized best interests of children in foster care due to abuse or neglect.

As part of the 90-day recruitment campaign, CASA will host a variety of events across Oklahoma County. Events will take place at community centers, coffee shops, and other public spaces.

Details for these events can be found on CASA's online calendar at aChildNeedsYou.org. CASA will also host its regular monthly Open Houses, which take place at 6PM at the Juvenile Justice Center the last Tuesday of each month.

"Our goal as an organization is to best represent the children we serve through inclusive practices. This means training more volunteers from diverse communities to strengthen our organization and ensure representation from across the broader community is engaged at CASA," said Jennie Hill, Executive Director.

The children served by CASA of Oklahoma County last fiscal year identified as 52% non-white, while CASA's volunteers identified as 20% non-white. Hill said the program hopes to continue efforts to bring to light the disproportionate number of children of color in foster care while galvanizing the broader community to consider engagement as a CASA advocate.

"I often say that child abuse and neglect are community issues which require a community response. The name Community Response really communicates our goal for this campaign - for us to be active in all communities throughout Oklahoma County," Hill said.

CASA volunteers complete a screening process and 30 hours of extensive training.

The volunteers are supported in their service by an advocacy supervisor who coaches the advocate in writing court reports, appearing in court, and participating in necessary meetings and visits.

The volunteer advocate is never alone in their journey of service.

Those interested in volunteering with CASA can reach out by calling 713-6602 to speak to Director of Recruitment Kathy North.

CASA is located at 5905 North Classen Court, #302, Oklahoma City, OK 73118. Find CASA of Oklahoma County on the web at OKCountyCASA.org.

For information on other CASA programs around the state, visit the Oklahoma CASA Association website at oklahomacasa.org. CASA of Oklahoma County is a proud United Way Partner Agency.

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