Having completed 30-hours of training, ten new volunteers from Santa Maria and Lompoc will be sworn-in on January 14 as Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA’s) by Judge Arthur Garcia at the Santa Maria Juvenile Court.

This group of dedicated group includes two individuals who are active Air Force and one retired military.

The swearing-in ceremony will begin at 4:30 pm.  Members of the press and guests are required to arrive 15-20 minutes early to go through security screening. The Juvenile Court is located at 4263 California Blvd, Santa Maria.

Judge Garica will speak to the new volunteers about the importance of their new role as a CASA and the value it has to the court. After CASA volunteers take an oath of office, they are declared officers of the court for the purpose of advocating for an abused or neglected child.

CASA is unique in that it is the only non-profit program working within the court system and utilizing court-appointed volunteers to help abused and neglected children find safe, permanent, nurturing homes as quickly as possible.

The CASA movement began in 1976 when a Seattle judge conceived the idea of using trained community volunteers to speak for the best interests of children in the dependency system, helping to ensure that they will live in safe and loving environments. The Seattle program proved so successful that judges across the country began using citizen advocates to provide information about abused and neglected children’s lives. Today, there are nearly 1,000 CASA programs operating in the United States.

For more information contact Tara Gross at (805) 739-9102 ext. 2595 or email tara@sbcasa.org.