At CASA of River Valley, their mission is clear: they aim to positively impact the lives of children involved in the Will and Grundy County Judicial Systems due to circumstances beyond their control. They understand that these children have experienced abuse and neglect, and their goal is to reduce these traumas’ physical, emotional, intellectual, and social impacts. This is achieved by harnessing the power of community resources and dedicated volunteers who advocate for these vulnerable children.
The Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program, which began in Seattle in 1977, is crucial to their mission. CASA volunteers are appointed by the court to act as the voice of the child and provide essential information to the judicial system. Their ultimate aim is to contribute to a more restorative juvenile court process and, in the process, “Change a Child’s Story.™”
Helping local children navigate the foster care system
In Will and Grundy Counties, hundreds of children enter the Juvenile Justice System yearly due to abuse and neglect. CASA of River Valley steps in to help these children recover from their traumatic experiences and seek safe, permanent, and loving homes where they can thrive. Their commitment extends until each child’s case is closed, and they are placed into a secure, permanent environment filled with hope for a brighter future.
Since 1994, CASA has tirelessly served over 3,000 children. It’s worth noting that more than 90 percent of the children they serve come from low-income families. Regardless of their backgrounds, every child entering the court system deserves dedicated representation.
Volunteers become the voice of the child
CASA of River Valley invests countless hours to profoundly impact these children’s lives, resulting in heartwarming stories of reunification with family members or escaping abusive homes. Thanks to the collaboration of their dedicated volunteers, partners, and the community, CASA of River Valley has achieved the following outcomes for their children:
Over 300 children in Will and Grundy Counties receive representation from a CASA each year, with CASA currently able to serve 54% of children in need.
Children with CASAs spend an average of eight months less in foster care than those without representation.
The children they serve are also less likely to re-enter the foster care system.
Their work is far from finished, but with the support of their community, volunteers, and partners, they are making a lasting impact on the lives of these children. Together, they are creating brighter, more hopeful futures for those who need it most. Join them in their mission to change the stories of children in need.
Spotlight welcomed CASA of River Valley’s Megan Pennington, Advocate Supervisor.