NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (July 25, 2023) – There’s a new program working alongside our local courts to help kids whose lives have been upended because of abuse or neglect.
Jennifer Schandel directs the newly-established Court-Appointed Special Advocates of Tuscarawas and Harrison Counties. She says CASA will provide trained volunteers to the juvenile courts in both counties to represent the interests of children and young adults with developmental disabilities who have to be removed from their homes.
“They would meet with the child. They would interact. They would observe the child with their caregiver. They would observe the child with a parent or in a foster care setting, and then they would gather facts and they would make recommendations.”
Schandel will be at the New Philadelphia library Thursday evening talking about the program that’s a certified extension of the national one that a judge in Seattle started in 1977 and trying to recruit helpers.
“He was to make a decision about a 3-year-old, and he had no information on what might be best for the child. We had parents on either side and, of course, there’s the agency or Job and Family Services, but no one had interacted with the child on a very intimate level to make sure that their needs were gonna be met and they could have representation in the court.”
The local League of Women Voters chapter is co-hosting the 90-minute forum in Meeting Room A that begins at 6 pm. If you can’t make it and want more information, call 330-365-3255 or send Schandel a message through the CASA of Tuscarawas and Harrison Counties Facebook page.