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Juvenile-justice volunteers sworn in

Photo by Jim Massara
Judge Steven Teske swears in Tiffany Graham, the newest volunteer in Clayton County’s Court Appointed Special Advocate program.

Photo by Jim Massara Judge Steven Teske swears in Tiffany Graham, the newest volunteer in Clayton County’s Court Appointed Special Advocate program.

Nine new volunteers to support Clayton County’s juvenile-justice court were sworn in Thursday by Judge Steven Teske.

The volunteers will serve as Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and Finding Alternatives for Safety and Treatment (FAST) panel members, according to Shannon Howard, who coordinates Clayton’s Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative.

“Volunteers are extremely important because there’s much criticism around the country about the secrecy of juvenile courts,” Teske told the volunteers. “The way to get citizens to stop complaining that they don’t know what’s going on in the juvenile court system is to simply invite them to work in it.”

Volunteers, solicited through Clayton County churches and civic organizations, either work with professionals on a juvenile review panel or act as informal case managers for youth in the system.

“The whole goal is to be able to release the kids back into the community without compromising community safety,” Teske said.

Volunteers, who go through background checks, interviews and a training process, are usually sworn in four times a year.