CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) was recently awarded a $2,500 grant from the OneOK/ One Gas Foundation to support its Child Advocacy program. 

The Child Advocacy program provides volunteers to advocate for children involved in the court systems of Johnson and Wyandotte counties due to abuse, neglect, or other forms of maltreatment, and to children involved in the court system of Johnson county due to divorce-related issues such as custody or visitation disputes.

CASA Volunteers and CASA Program Coordinators together play a critical role in ensuring children involved in the court system are safe from further abuse and neglect, and that their best interests are held paramount by the court system. Volunteers and Coordinators help children navigate the maze of the child welfare and Family Court systems and work to find children safe and permanent homes as quickly as possible.

Metro Lutheran Ministries (MLM) recently received a grant for $10,000 from the Sosland Foundation to support renovations to the Northland Community Service Center.   

In 2015, a new Service Center for MLM will be built to increase MLM's ability to serve the Northland community. The new Northland Service Center will be a visible and strong anchor in North Kansas City, and a beacon to those in economic crisis who need a lifeline.  A new 4,300 square foot Service Center will be created through a renovation of the former sanctuary of St. James Lutheran Church.  Over 3,460 square feet of the former sanctuary will be renovated for the new Service Center and an additional 840 square feet will be added through construction to the existing space.  This Service Center will have locations for food storage, three offices for case management, a reception and waiting room for clients, a bathroom, additional storage space, and room to grow.  A dock and ramp will be added to aid food deliveries. 

Comprehensive Mental Health Services (CMHS) recently received a grant for $42,000 from the Jackson County COMBAT Prevention Program to provide a prevention program to targeted youth deemed by the schools to be at-risk for drug use and/or underage drinking.

CMHS will provide weekly educational groups for the selected students using the Life Styles Training (LST) curriculum. The program teaches students the negative effects of substance use/abuse across many aspects of life. Special attention is paid, in discussion groups, to the importance of avoiding violence, and the relationship of drugs and alcohol to violent behavior.  CMHS will also offer follow-up services to youth and families through referrals to adolescent CSTAR, Drug and Alcohol Recovery Services,  Outpatient Services, and Youth Community Support and Diversion. All offered services  would serve to increase family protective factors. 

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.