Court Appointed Special Advocates of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties (CASA) Recently Received a $10,000 Grant from Country Club Christian Church

Court Appointed Special Advocates of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties (CASA) recently received a grant for $10,000 from Country Club Christian Church to support their Youngest Victims program.  This program provides specialized training and support for CASA staff and volunteers advocating for children from birth to age five who are involved in the court system due to abuse or neglect.

Funding from Country Club Christian Church will help pay salaries for Program Supervisors who are specially-trained to support volunteers working with these youngest victims.  CASA anticipates the Youngest Victims program will serve 600 children in 2015.

More children than ever in our community are being abused or neglected and coming under the courts’ protection.  Most of these children come from lower-income homes in which they are witnesses to violence, substance abuse, lack of proper health care, mental health issues, and a host of other issues.  CASA children live in temporary placement or treatment facilities, foster homes, or with relatives. Many of these children have experienced terror that most of us will never know, and are in desperate need of a caring and compassionate adult to provide hope and healing.  The long-term consequences of child abuse are influenced by the frequency, duration, and severity of abuse.  By limiting future abuse, CASA can help minimize negative outcomes. Moreover, CASA volunteers can leverage a number of protective factors, which help contribute to an abused or neglected child’s resilience, including improving the child’s social environment and the family’s access to social supports, safe schools, and adequate health care.

CASA agencies provide effective advocacy services to abused and neglected children who are involved in the Family Court systems in Jackson County, Johnson County, and Wyandotte County.  Jackson County CASA was founded in 1983 and Johnson County CASA followed in 1985.  In 2005, Johnson County services were expanded to include abused and neglected children living in Wyandotte County, after which Johnson County CASA changed its name to CASA of Johnson & Wyandotte Counties. CASA’s mission is to be a child’s voice in court.  The organizations recruit, train and support lay volunteers who act as advocates on behalf of the best interests of abused and neglected children.  CASA’s goals are to secure a safe, permanent home for each child, and to advocate for appropriate medical, educational, and therapeutic resources while the child is under the court jurisdiction.  CASAs are the only volunteers appointed by a judge and empowered to speak up for abused and neglected children in court.