Morristown, NJ – A Roxbury woman was one of 19 community volunteers sworn-in recently to serve as advocates for children removed from homes due to abuse, neglect or abandonment.

The woman, Gail Kross of Succasunna, was sworn-in as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) by state Superior Court Judge Michael Wright. The event took place Nov. 2 at the Morris County Courthouse before a crowd of friends and family members.

CASA of Morris and Sussex Counties is non-profit organization that trains and supervises the volunteers “to advocate for the best interests” of the displaced children, said the organization in a statement.

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“The new volunteers have made the extraordinary 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,” CASA noted.

Is said CASA volunteers participate in a 36-hour training program before 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,” it said. “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 file reports with the court and offer recommendations.

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

Joining Kross in being sworn were 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), 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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