Wednesday, Oct 25, 2017
Original article written by Darlene Schlicher and published on the Tennessean on 10/22/17
State Senator Ferrell Haile (R- Gallatin) has been named “Legislator of the Year” in Tennessee for his efforts on behalf of abused and neglected children. The award from Tennessee Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association was presented to Haile on Tuesday in Nashville.
“As an adoptive parent, Senator Haile understands the needs of children and how important families are for children’s ability to thrive and grow,” said Lynne Farrar, Executive Director of Tennessee CASA Association. “Because of this, Senator Haile has kept the needs of children and families in the forefront of issues facing the Tennessee General Assembly. We salute Senator Haile for his thoughtful, innovative and courageous legislation on behalf of children.”
TN CASA provides training and technical assistance to 29 CASA programs serving 52 counties. CASA volunteers are Court Appointed Special Advocates for children. They are trained community volunteers appointed by a judge to speak for abused and neglected children in court. The goal is to expedite the process through which these abused and neglected children are found permanent, safe homes.
Among the key reasons Haile was honored by CASA was his passage of a new law during the 2017 legislative session to help children from troubled homes avoid chronic Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). The law established the “Zero to Three Initiative Courts” to reduce time of permanency of children in at-risk environments by surrounding families of children age 36 months or younger with support services, whether it is returning them to parents, living with relatives or getting them ready for adoption.
“I am very honored to receive this award,” said Senator Haile. “CASA has been a vital link for abused and neglected children to receive the help they need for a better life. I appreciate this recognition and am pleased to partner with CASA to push for better services for these vulnerable children.”