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CASA certified by national association

— Columbia Gorge CASA has been awarded certification by the National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association.

This certification recognizes that Columbia Gorge CASA is in compliance with National CASA’s high standards for quality child advocacy.

“The National CASA quality assurance process is very rigorous, and reflects our commitment to ensure every child we serve has the most powerful volunteer advocate working on their behalf,” said Michael Piraino, CEO of the National CASA Association. “This certification says Columbia Gorge CASA has demonstrated to us a strong capacity to provide excellent services to the abused and neglected children within their community.”

“The heart of our successful program is our incredible volunteers who are tireless and passionate advocates of children going through the trauma of the foster care and court systems,” said Susan Ericksen, executive director. According to Erickson, more than half of the 130 children who are in foster care in Wasco, Hood River, and Sherman Counties have a CASA advocating for their best interests.

The National CASA was formed as a result of events in the 1970s. In 1976, concerned over making decisions about abused and neglected children’s lives without sufficient information, a Seattle judge conceived the idea of using trained community volunteers to speak for the best interests of these children in court, helping to ensure that they will live in a safe and loving environment.

So successful was this Seattle program, that soon judges across the country began using citizen advocates.

There has been a CASA organization in the gorge since 1987.

For more information about becoming a CASA volunteer or supporting CASA through a donation, contact Susan Erickson, Executive Director at (541) 386-3468.

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