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CASA of Forsyth County honored at state level
Janet Walden, center, CASA of Forsyth County executive director, accepts the award from Duaine Hathaway, Georgia CASA executive director, left, and Freda Hammonds, Georgia CASA Board of Directors vice chair. - photo by For the Forsyth County News

FORSYTH COUNTY — The volunteers and staff at CASA of Forsyth County Inc. want to help children regardless of recognition, but being recognized for positive efforts can’t feel bad.

CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocates, received the 2015 Established Program Award of Excellence from Georgia CASA. The umbrella organization honored Forsyth County’s branch during the recent Georgia CASA State Conference in Atlanta.

The staff, which includes two directors and three case workers, and nearly 100 volunteers were recognized for meeting the benchmarks created by the statewide CASA that indicate a “high threshold of excellence.”

CASA trains community volunteers who are appointed by a judge to speak and act on behalf of abused or neglected children involved in a juvenile court proceeding.

“We are truly honored to have earned this recognition,” said Janet Walden, executive director of the Forsyth branch. “Our team of volunteers, child advocates, business partners and all who help our children through this program are part of our success in fulfilling our mission.”

The local group met the following standards:

* Met and exceeded CASA local program standards

* Placed an emphasis on training and volunteer retention

* Ensured that more than half of the children in foster care had a volunteer advocate

* Maintained financial stability, support from the court and the Division of Family and Children Services, or DFCS, strong board and staff leadership

* Possessed an active presence in the community

Forsyth’s CASA holds a Superhero 5K every year, filling the streets with caped runners to benefit the organization.

The group has “consistently served 100 percent of the dependent children in the county for the past several years.”

Last year, 92 volunteer advocates served 235 children. Statewide, more than 2,200 volunteers served more than 9,000 children across 47 CASA programs in 143 counties.