Volunteer of the Year 2022: Michaela Grandey

Michaela Grandey is a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) and Guardian ad Litem. She advocates in and out of the courtroom in the areas of education, mental health, basic needs, medical health and makes recommendations to the court for needed services.

Michaela files written reports and advocates orally in court. She also brings vital and timely information to the court to assist the judge in making decisions regarding custody and parent visitation.

Michaela has been a CASA volunteer for four years. She has volunteered over 617 hours of advocacy and driven over 6,144 miles in her personal vehicle to visit the children to whom she is appointed. She has successfully advocated for 15 children.

Michaela exemplifies what it means to be an exceptional CASA/GAL. Please join us in celebrating Michaela’s tireless advocacy of our children in Delaware and Union Counties!

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How CASA Works

Ohio law requires that all child victims of abuse and neglect be appointed a Guardian ad Litem (GAL). In Delaware and Union counties, the courts appoint a private attorney or a CASA, who is trained as a volunteer GAL.

CASA of Delaware and Union Counties exists to serve the most at-risk and severe cases of child abuse and neglect in the community. These children need individualized attention and need to be seen on a regularly scheduled basis.

CASA provides a critical local need and is the ONLY community organization providing such services in Delaware and Union Counties.

About Being an Advocate

What does CASA stand for?

C A S A stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate.

What is a Court Appointed Special Advocate?

A Court Appointed Special Advocate is an ordinary individual, with special training, who volunteers their time to represent a child in Court.

What is the role of a CASA volunteer?

A CASA volunteer provides the judge with objective information about the child to help the court make a sound decision about what is in the child’s best interest: being reunified with their parents; living with relatives; getting a permanent guardian; or adoption.

The CASA volunteer supports the child throughout the process by being the child’s friend, recommending what the child needs and helping the child feel safe by knowing that the CASA is there for him/her.

How do I become a volunteer with the Delaware and Union Counties CASA program?

There are several steps involved in becoming a CASA volunteer. You complete an application, pass a criminal background check, be interviewed, and go through 30 hours of training.

Upon successful completion, the Juvenile Court Judge will swear you in as a CASA Volunteer and an Officer of the Court.

What training is involved?

Each CASA volunteer receives a minimum of 30 hours of initial training, which takes place over several weeks and may include an e-learning (computer based) component.

The training covers information on the role of the advocate, about child development and social issues affecting families, and a broad overview of Ohio law and the court process relating to child abuse and neglect cases.

In Delaware and Union Counties the training includes observing court hearings.

How long does a CASA volunteer remain involved?

The volunteer continues until the case is permanently resolved. One of the primary benefits of the CASA program is that, unlike case workers and others involved in the case, the CASA volunteer is often the only consistent adult who stays involved in the case from beginning to end; providing stability and continuity that is desperately needed.

How does someone become a CASA?

CASA volunteers submit an application with references, complete an interview with the program staff, and attend training.

A complete criminal history and child abuse registry check are performed on each applicant.

Upon completion of their training, CASA volunteers are sworn in by the juvenile court judge and promise to maintain strict confidentiality and professionalism throughout their appointment.

On average, how many cases does a CASA volunteer carry at a time?

The number can vary according to the volunteer’s time commitment. Most volunteers have one or two cases involving one or more children at a time.

How much time is involved in volunteering?

Each case is different. A typical volunteer spends 10 to 15 hours a month on a case.

Fostering Futures Program

The Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program of Delaware and Union Counties is pleased to announce a new program to better serve the youth of Union and Delaware Counties. Under the leadership of Delaware County Juvenile Judge David A. Hejmanowski and Union County Juvenile Judge Charlotte Coleman Eufinger, the Fostering Futures Program was implemented. On September 27, 2017, four CASA Volunteers were trained using a curriculum from the national CASA Organization which focuses on improving outcomes for older and emancipating youth (14-21 years of age), who are leaving foster care without a permanent family. In addition to providing advocacy for the youth in court, Fostering Futures mentors will
work with this population to:

  • Help youth set goals for their future and provide strategies of how to achieve them.
  • Empower youth with practical knowledge such as how to schedule a doctor’s
    appointment, find housing, apply for a job, balance a checkbook etc.
  • Assist youth in developing knowledge and skills to successfully transition into adulthood.
  • Provide resources within the local community to assist the youth.
  • Work with youth to help them realize better outcomes than the research shows for typical youth who age out of the foster care system.
  • Be a consistent, caring adult in the youth’s life. Provide mentorship and advocacy.

Nationally an estimated 25,000 youth between the ages of 18-21 age out of foster care. These youth face unique and difficult challenges without adult guidance or support systems. Statistics show that 25% of former foster youth nationwide reported that they had been homeless within 2 to 4 years of exiting foster care. Additionally, research shows that they are 14 times more likely not to complete college than the general population and they are more than twice as likely not to have a high school diploma or GED as their peers. The Fostering Futures Program will endeavor to change these alarming statistics by providing adult guidance and mentorship.

If you or someone you know are interested in helping advocate and guide youth in your community or would like to learn what it takes to become a CASA volunteer, please contact Tammy Matias, Director for the CASA Program at 740-833-2634.

Contact Us to Ask Additional Questions
About Volunteering
Please contact:

Tammy Matias
Director for the CASA Program

Interested in Volunteering

Please fill out the CASA Volunteer Application:

Upon receipt, you will be contacted by staff to schedule an initial interview to learn more about our opportunity and how you might become involved.

After meeting with staff and deciding if the CASA Program is one you are interested in volunteering with, you will be directed to the next steps which includes our Human Resources and Training Process.

CASA advocates in the best interest of abused and neglected children in Delaware and Union Counties.

We recruit, train and support community volunteers who serve as Court Appointed Special Advocates for abused and neglected children in the juvenile court system proceedings.

CASA volunteers are “the voice of the child” in court; providing information and perspective to assist the judge in making informed
decisions that are in the best interest of the child.

145 N. Union Street, Delaware, Ohio 43015

(740) 833-2634 (Delaware County)

(937) 645-3120 (Union  County)