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Two Sparta Residents in Most Recent Class of CASA Volunteers

Michelle Bent

Monday, June 30, 2014 • 10:25pm

NEWTON, NJ-Five volunteers from Morris, Sussex and Union Counties were recently sworn in as Court Appointed Special Advocates by The Honorable James A. Farber, Presiding Family Court Judge of the Morris/Sussex Vicinage. CASA of Morris and Sussex Counties, a local non-profit organization, 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. The new volunteers have made the extraordinary commitment to speak up for these vulnerable children in court and to advocate for them until they reach a permanent home.

The ceremony was held at the Sussex County Courthouse in Newton. The new volunteers sworn in that day included

  • Virginia Mahoney from Sparta, 
  • Denise Surdoval from Sparta.
  • Bill Bilinkas from Flanders,
  • Joanna Mlicka-Anderko from Randolph and
  • Lauren Hinnes from Sussex.

Melinda Bennington from Chatham, Olga Netto from  Summit  and Jennifer Wheeldon from Rockaway were also members of the training class. They will be sworn in next week.

Essentially, CASA volunteers make sure that children in foster care 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 participate 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.

“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, Executive Director of CASA.

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