The voice for child advocacy in Forsyth County has a new leader at its helm.
Lori Pupp was recently named Court Appointed Special Advocate, or CASA, of Forsyth County’s executive director after former director Janet Walden moved to Gainesville and took over as executive director for the Hall-Dawson County program.
She first began as case manager in 2005, spending three years with CASA.
After taking some time off, she came back to the program in 2010, where she has been ever since –eventually serving as advocacy case manager and most recently advocacy director for the program.
She’s worked with the organization for nine years now, she said, and has spent 16 years working in child welfare.
“Lori brings dependability and commitment to the Forsyth County CASA organization, as well as her strong ties to the community,” said Donna Kukarola, chair of the Board of Directors. “She will further develop our solid base of volunteer advocates, community collaborations and donor support. We have high expectations of what Lori will accomplish; and we are excited to be able to appoint someone from within the CASA organization to this position.”
Pupp said she was honored to have been selected for the position.
“I look forward to continuing the work of our CASA program,” she said. “The calm dedication of our staff and volunteers is exemplary and a guiding light as we continue working together to help the children who need a voice in court.”
CASA relies on judge-appointed volunteers who are trained to represent abused or neglected children involved in juvenile court proceedings.
Volunteers act as guardians to the children, often investing more time in individual cases than Division of Family and Children Services case workers, who frequently have numerous children and families to deal with.
CASA workers are inducted twice a year after completing 40 hours of classroom and online training and 10 hours of courtroom observation, where they learn about the child welfare system, the child development process and the courtroom process, among other training values.
They undergo an extensive background checks and “can be assigned to up to two cases for an 18-month commitment,” Pupp previously told the Forsyth County News.
According to CASA’s website, volunteers usually spend about 10-15 hours conducting research and interviews prior to their first court appearance. Once initiated into the system, they work about 10 hours a month on each case.