CASA of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties (CASA) recently received a grant for $23,200 from the National CASA Association to better serve older youth involved in the county court systems due to abuse, neglect, or other forms of maltreatment.
CASA will use funds from the National CASA Association, along with other locally raised funds, to continue supporting a full-time Teen Advocate Program Coordinator. This coordinator will oversee the Fostering Futures Training program by conducting the actual training for volunteers, by matching older youth with volunteers trained in the Fostering Futures curriculum, and by serving as the "in-house expert" on issues relating to older foster youth. CASA anticipates training 80 new volunteers in the Fostering Futures curriculum during the grant period, and serving and an additional 80 children.
CASA will use the grant to better serve older youth involved in the county court systems due to abuse, neglect, or other forms of maltreatment. These youth, who are usually involved in foster care of some kind, are particularly vulnerable to issues stemming from a lack of basic life skills, and are at risk of failing to obtain a high school diploma or GED. This can have long term, negative implications for employment opportunities, earning potential, and overall ability to contribute positively to the community. By contrast, foster youth with a CASA volunteer are much more likely to graduate high school. CASA-served youth are significantly more likely to graduate high school or obtain a GED because of the consistent attention CASA's volunteers give to the youth they serve. CASA volunteers encourage kids to attend and work hard in school, and help kids learn basic life skills they may not be learning in their foster homes.
CASA continues to expand its ability to provide advocates for children in 2013, as it trained 64 new volunteers that year. CASA served 413 children in 2013, compared to 409 children served in 2012.CASA was established in 1985 by the National Council of Jewish Women, Kansas City Chapter to provide trained volunteers as advocates for children involved in the Johnson County District Court system due to abuse, neglect, or other forms of maltreatment. In 1987, CASA began providing advocates for children involved in Johnson County’s court system due to divorce-related issues such as custody and visitation disputes. In 2005, CASA secured the support of the Wyandotte County District Court and expanded its services to include abused and neglected children living in Wyandotte County. For 28 years, CASA has recruited, screened, trained, and supervised community volunteers who advocate for the best interests of children involved in the court system due to abuse, neglect, custody, or visitation disputes. CASA has grown from a few volunteers serving a few dozen children per year in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s to serving nearly 500 per year, with hundreds of volunteers ready to advocate for the best interests of children in need of caring and compassion.