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National CASA Judge of the Year

The Honorable John Worcester
Superior Court Judge, Appalachian Judicial Circuit
Jasper, Georgia

At the heart of every successful CASA/GAL program is a dedicated judge. Each year, the National CASA Association honors the outstanding contributions of a
judge who has advanced the best interests of children through support of the CASA/GAL model.

The Honorable John Worcester Superior Court Judge, Appalachian Judicial Circuit Jasper, Georgia. The Honorable John Worcester brings a unique perspective to his role as Superior Court Judge in the Appalachian Judicial Circuit, having served as the first Program Development Director for Georgia CASA nearly 25 years ago. As an alumnus of the CASA/GAL network, Judge Worcester has depended on the critical perspective of the CASA volunteer to help him make decisions in the best interests of each child. He helps recruit volunteers, participates in pre-service training,and makes sure CASA volunteers and staff have a role in local court improvement program initiatives. When a CASA volunteer appears before him, he has fully read their report and always asks the volunteer to share their recommendations aloud in court.

Parental substance abuse is a serious problem in the mountains of north Georgia. Judge Worcester presides over Family Treatment Courts, as well as the Parental Accountability and Mental Health Courts in the Appalachian Judicial Circuit. He treats all parents with respect and assures them the goal is reunification with their children if they can maintain sobriety and stability. Judge Worcester shows the children in his court he cares, attending annual holiday parties, drug court graduations, and other foster youth achievements.

Colleagues say Judge Worcester’s penchant for change is an asset to the community. He pushes the court to evolve and improve by pioneering and
incubating emerging court practices. Judge Worcester is a true partner to his local program and to Georgia CASA.

The US Department of Justice has supported CASA advocacy since 1985 through its Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
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