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BOC renews CASA grant agreement with state

Photo by Heather Middleton

Photo by Heather Middleton

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

The Clayton County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to accept a $38,249.03 grant agreement from the Georgia Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association, on behalf of the county's juvenile court system, and its CASA branch.

A copy of the 12-month grant agreement between the Clayton County Juvenile Court, and the state's CASA group, shows the grant money will be paid in installments, on a quarterly basis, to provide "financial support" for Clayton County's CASA branch. CASA is an advocacy group in which adult volunteers serve as representatives of children, to advocate for the youths during court proceedings.

The grant agreement is scheduled to go into effect on July 1, according to a copy of the agreement.

"We are very proud to be a part of CASA," said Clayton County Board of Commissioners Chairman Eldrin Bell. "It's our No. 1 volunteer organization in the county, from my point of view. They do great things with our children, and work very closely with our juvenile [court] officials, as advocates for the betterment of our youth."

The grant agreement stipulates that in return for accepting the grant, Clayton County CASA must comply with state CASA standards governing the management of the group; the recruitment, screening, training, and supervising of volunteer advocates; and the providing of community education programs that bring attention to the needs of children served by CASA, offering "measurable" goals and objectives, and statistical reporting.

The county-level CASA branch must also retain all of its records for at least seven years, pay a $50 annual Georgia CASA affiliation fee, maintain membership in the National Court Appointed Special Advocates Association, and provide a copy of its annual budget to Georgia CASA within 30 days of the beginning of fiscal year 2012, according to the agreement.

Bell said the board's action simply renews a long-standing agreement between the county, and the state CASA group. He explained the agreement is renewed every year.