Northwest Ohio CASA swears in two new volunteers

Pictured L-R: Jessica Porter-Pennington, Northwest Ohio CASA Advocate Coordinator, new CASA volunteers Jaynne Smiley and Jenifer Nicelley, existing CASA volunteer Jennifer Porter, and Judge Michael Wehrkamp .

Paulding County Juvenile Court Judge Michael Wehrkamp swore in two new volunteers to serve as Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) in Paulding County on Thursday, April 7, 2022.

The ceremony took place at the Paulding County Courthouse. On hand were new CASA volunteers Jenifer Nicelley and Jaynne Smiley, existing CASA volunteer Jennifer Porter and Northwest Ohio CASA Advocate Coordinator Jessica Porter-Pennington.

Wehrkamp thanked the volunteers for their service and discussed the positive impact the CASA program has had on the children involved, the court and the community. “I am grateful to our CASA and Northwest Ohio CASA volunteers. Having a CASA program in Paulding County has been transformative for us. I congratulate our new and existing CASA volunteers.

The new volunteers are part of Northwest Ohio CASA, a nonprofit program that expanded to Paulding County in September 2020 through a grant from Ohio CASA. Northwest Ohio CASA trains community volunteers to advocate for child victims of abuse or neglect. These volunteers ensure that the best interests of the child are respected both in the courtroom and in the community.

The CASA program is a national program in 49 states and serves more than 270,000 children each year. Paulding County’s newest volunteers join a large group of community members involved in advocating for children in Northwest Ohio CASA.

To become a volunteer, it is not necessary to have prior knowledge of the juvenile court or the child protection system. Those interested in volunteering must be at least 21 years old, complete an application, pass a background check, and complete 30 hours of pre-service training.

If you are interested in becoming a CASA volunteer, please visit www.nwocasa.com for an application or email [email protected] CASA of Northwest Ohio can be reached at 419-592-9455.

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