April 26, 2023
Former CASA volunteers now serve as judges who champion children and families
In honor of National Volunteer Month, the National CASA/GAL Association for Children is pleased to recognize the Honorable Amanda N. Heath, Judge, Augusta Judicial Circuit/Superior Court, Augusta, Georgia, and member of National CASA/GAL’s Judicial Leadership Council.
The Honorable Amanda N. Heath
Judge Heath received the 2022 CASA Champion Award from Georgia CASA, which recognizes an outstanding individual or entity in Georgia who both champions CASA/GAL advocacy and demonstrates a strong commitment to it, and whose actions positively impact the advancement of the CASA/GAL mission in the community.
Georgia CASA Executive Director Jennifer King says, “Judge Heath has been a champion of CASA locally and statewide. She was a CASA volunteer herself in law school and we are so glad to have her in our state, as a friend and judge.”
Judge Heath serves on the board of directors of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. She is also a member of the Board of Governors for the State Bar of Georgia, currently serves on the Georgia Supreme Court Committee for Justice for Children and is a graduate of Leadership Georgia.
Candyce Walker, Director of the Augusta Judicial Circuit CASA program, says, “Judge Heath is a powerhouse and a treasure. She endlessly inspires through her dedication to child welfare, her exemplary leadership, and her considerate and confident disposition. She has made an enormous impact on our judicial circuit, and I am honored to have the opportunity to work with her.”
The Honorable Wenona Clark Belton
The National CASA/GAL Association for Children also recognizes the Honorable Wenona Clark Belton, Judge, Juvenile Court of Fulton County, Atlanta, Georgia. Judge Belton is a Child Welfare Law Specialist, having been certified through the National Association of Counsel for Children/American Bar Association since 2012.
Her volunteer service is exemplary, showing her commitment to children in need. She is a former foster parent and has been a CASA volunteer. She has also offered pro bono legal representation, volunteered her time to the Domestic Violence Project, Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation, and the Fulton County Solicitor’s Victim Witness Assistance Program.
Judge Belton is a board member of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and a cabinet member for Get Georgia Reading, a program that works to improve children’s futures by promoting reading proficiency. Judge Belton serves on a number of committees, including those associated with the Georgia Council of Juvenile Court Judges and State Bar of Georgia.
In a November 2022 interview with Andrea Clement of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Judge Belton says, “Juvenile court was a great fit for me as a former foster parent and CASA volunteer. The goal is to preserve families, protect children and the public.”
Judge Belton adds that she has not walked her career path alone but has been guided by friends and mentors. She says, “The memories of how my grandparents and parents worked and sacrificed so that I can serve are my greatest motivations.”
Judge Belton is encouraged by the transformation and evolution of child welfare and juvenile justice, where, she says, data and science are now applied to “decrease court contact and improve outcomes for children, families, and communities.”