UNION COUNTY, NJ — State Superior Court Judge James Hely administered oaths to 13 Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Union County, including Carolyn Colonna of Fanwood and Judy Sturm of Scotch Plains. The volunteers came from 11 towns from across the County. 

CASA Volunteers are extra eyes and ears for family law judges hearing cases involving abused, neglected or abandoned children removed from home and placed in foster care.

With court-ordered access to such parties as foster parents, doctors, caseworkers, therapists and teachers, the advocates incorporate findings into court reports and work to ensure youth’s needs are met and best interests are protected.

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“I felt something pulling at me to help children,” said Carolyn Colonna of Fanwood, one of the new advocates. “The mission of Court Appointed Special Advocates of Union County really spoke to me. I am the proud mom of two young adults. I love being a mom, and I feel called to help children both know they can be heard and to be a reliable presence in a child’s life.”

Scotch Plains resident Judy Sturm said she decided to become a CASA after spending many years as an officer for a local non-profit board.

“I wanted an opportunity to work directly with those who needed help the most. I am looking forward to making a positive difference in the life of a child,” Sturm said.

Colonna and Sturm will be matched to a foster youth or sibling set ranging from birth to age 21.

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