2015 Annual CASA Conference
Written by Donna Deaton
The 2015 Annual CASA Conference was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Northwest Oklahoma City April 10th-11th. CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteers and staff, as well as DHS workers, foster parents and judicial personnel are honored each year for their work with neglected and abused children.
This year, San Bois CASA Volunteer Coordinator, Frances Shankle, was the CASA Staff Member of the Year. The Judge of the Year was the Honorable Brian Henderson, Associate District Judge from Stigler, who presides over child abuse and neglect cases and appoints CASA to cases in Haskell County. Both Shankle and Henderson were nominated by Leah McLaughlin, Executive Director of San Bois CASA. Judge Henderson was joined at the awards ceremony Saturday by attorneys from Haskell County and his family.
Every year, thousands of children in Oklahoma are removed from their homes because of evidence of abuse and neglect. Going through the child welfare system is a scary process and no child should do it alone. CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to watch over and speak up for abused and neglected children to make sure they do not get lost in the over-burdened legal and social systems or languish in the foster care system.
CASA volunteers stay with the child until placement in a safe, permanent home when the case is closed. For many abused children, their CASA volunteer is the one constant in their lives and often, the one adult who cares only for them.
For more information about CASA or about being a CASA volunteer, contact Frances Shankle at the San Bois CASA office by calling 918-647-3267 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.