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Community Volunteers Sworn in as Advocates for Abused and Neglected Children

Michelle Bent

Friday, December 6, 2013 • 10:18pm

On Wednesday, December 4, sixteen volunteers from Morris and Sussex Counties were sworn in as Court Appointed Special Advocates by The Honorable Catherine I. Enright, Presiding Family Court Judge of the Morris/Sussex Vicinage. The ceremony was held at the Morris County Courthouse in Morristown. The new volunteers include Roberta Golub (Chester), Kim Kleindienst (Rockaway), Lesli-Ann Loschiavo (Netcong), Amy Rhinelander (Morristown), Audrey Stern (Parsippany), Meryl Enberg (Short Hills), Patty Heath (Landing), Jill Miller (Gillette), Maureen Crasta (Lake Hopatcong), Madeehah Aslam (Nutley), Gianna Bove (Whippany), Ada Pfotenhauer (Morristown), Jill Knaus (Sparta), Susan Brezina (Newton), Marty Fleming (Newton) and Liz Sember (Sparta).  Sharon Varnales (Morristown) is also a member of the training class. She will be sworn in next week (12/10).

These community members are volunteers for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Morris and Sussex Counties, a local non-profit organization. CASA of Morris and Sussex Counties trains and supervises community volunteers to advocate for the best interests of children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect. Essentially, CASA volunteers “speak up” for these children in court, making sure they are receiving the services they need, and are placed in a permanent, safe, and nurturing home as soon as possible. CASA volunteers make recommendations to the court to further the child’s physical, psychological, and educational well-being.

CASA volunteer advocates participated in an extensive 36 hour training program before officially being sworn in to be assigned to a child in the foster care system. Prior to the swearing in ceremony, volunteers and their guests gathered at the CASA office in Morristown for a welcome reception.

These sixteen individuals have made an extraordinary commitment to serve as advocates and positive role models to vulnerable children in Morris and Sussex Counties.

“Swearing In ceremonies are an important event as we connect new volunteers to our CASA Family.  Our CASA volunteer advocates are the heart and soul of our organization.  They are passionate and dedicated to bringing better tomorrows to vulnerable children,” said Dr. Lisa Firkser, CASA Executive Director.

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