Morristown, NJ— Cheryl Bennett, Jianna Scarpa and Ashlee Caballero, all of Morristown, we part of the group of community volunteers sworn in as Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) by The Honorable Michael P. Wright. CASA of Morris and Sussex Counties, CASA, is a local non-profit organization, which trains and supervises community volunteers to advocate for the best interests of children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment.

The 19 volunteers made the commitment to “speak up” for these vulnerable children in court and to ensure that they receive the medical and educational resources they need to thrive, and most importantly that they find permanent, safe, and nurturing homes in a timely manner.

The volunteers who took the oath agreeing to advocate for the best interest of the child and to perform the role of a judiciary volunteer includes; Lois Davis (Towaco), Minerva Virola (Hamburg), Christopher Zwingle (Long Valley), Ellis Marples (Stockholm), Katelyn Stetzel (Wayne), Regina Farlekas (Mendham), Kathryn Leonard (Chatham), Debra Terlizzi (Boonton), Gail Kross (Succasunna), Kristen Dawson (Green Pond), Mollie Vogt (Mendham), Amy Evans (Chatham), Carolyn McKnight (Oak Ridge), Cheryl Bennett (Morristown), Jianna Scarpa (Morristown), Katharine Bambach (Wharton), Dawk Filippone (Boonton), Ashlee Caballero (Morristown), and Mary Lou McGrath (Flanders).

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CASA volunteers participate in an extensive 36 hour training program before officially being sworn in to be assigned a child in the foster care system. The CASA volunteers ensure that these vulnerable children receive the educational and medical resources they need to thrive and that they find safe, permanent, loving homes as soon as possible.

CASA volunteers visit with the child regularly, attend court hearings, school meetings, and meet with all parties involved in the child’s case. The volunteers report their findings to the court and make recommendations for the child’s best interest.

“Our volunteers pledge to stay with each child until the case is closed, and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home," said Lisa Barsky Firkser, Executive Director of Court Appointed Special Advocates of Morris and Sussex Counties. "The advocate is often the only consistent adult presence in the child’s life.”


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