The CASA for Kids Program serves children aged birth to 18 in La Crosse, Vernon and Monroe Counties who have been determined by the court to be a Children in Need of Protection or Services (CHIPS). The CASA for Kids volunteer is appointed as an Officer of the Court and assigned to a child under the court’s jurisdiction to provide the parties to the case (judge, social worker, guardian ad litem, county attorney, parents’ attorney(s) and parents) with information regarding the welfare and best interests of that child.
CASA volunteers have the duty to advocate for and act in the best interest of the child at all times with the goal of helping the child achieve his or her “forever” home as quickly as possible. The volunteers remain with the child’s case for one year or until permanency is reached. He or she meets with the child and family frequently and consults with others involved in the child’s life by making telephone contacts and attending court hearings and team meetings on the child’s behalf. On a regular basis the volunteer reports case progress to the court and the above named parties. It is sometimes the only report that the court and other parties receive regularly and serves to provide crucial information for judges to use in deciding without delay where the child should live permanently.
The CASA for Kids Program takes a strength-based approach, seeking to build on the strengths of the children and families and to turn them into successes. Time is spent learning who they are, how they got to where they are, and what has worked positively for them in the past. A CASA volunteer, working with only one family at a time, truly gets to know their assigned child. They report to the court and others on progress and suggest ways to deal with the family’s struggles based on the family’s successes rather than using a deficit-based approach. The CASA for Kids Program looks to the bright future that is possible for each child.
Children without a consistent voice in court to speak up for their best interests sometimes have cases that drag on longer and they remain under court jurisdiction “in limbo” rather than achieving permanency in safe, loving homes. The CASA for Kids volunteers, with their frequent visits and objective, non-judgmental relationship with the children and families they serve, give these children hope that there will come a better day because their CASA believes in them and is not afraid to advocate for what will help them achieve safety and permanency.
The YWCA CASA for Kids Program has been taking cases for over seventeen years. In that period of time, more than 200 individuals have volunteered to provide advocacy services for maltreated children of the Coulee Region. At any one time, approximately 50 volunteers have active cases and we serve over 90 children per year. The court, attorneys and social workers are supportive of the CASA for Kids program, believing that it is their “eyes and ears” into these families and that CASA volunteers help them to make informed decisions about the futures of our needy children.
The listing dates are for Monroe County CASA Volunteer Training, taking place at the Conference Center, 201 E. Franklin St., Sparta.
Monday Oct. 30th Swearing in at Monroe County Courthouse 2:30pm-3:30pm, 112 S Court St., Sparta
For more information, contact Nicole Jacobs at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (608) 304-8369