CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates)
Front Range CASA/GAL, Inc. (Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian ad Litem) is a non-profit organization that serves abused and neglected children in the 9th Judicial District (Glacier, Pondera, Teton and Toole Counties).
Front Range CASA was formed in 2000. The mission of Front Range CASA is to provide a trained CASA volunteer for every abused or neglected child that needs one. The volunteer undertakes any and all activities necessary for the promotion of these children's health, safety and welfare. To meet our mission, Front Range CASA recruits, trains, supervises and supports individuals from the community to perform this important advocacy function for children in need.
CASA volunteers are specially trained to advocate for the best interest of the child. A CASA speaks up for the child in court. The CASA conducts an independent investigation of the allegations in the case, visits with the child and all relevant people, and submits his or her findings in a written report to the court with recommendation as to what is "in the best interests of the child". The CASA is the one consistent person in the child's life during this traumatic time.
As an advocate for the child, the CASA bridges the gap between what should happen and what does happen in the child protection system. The CASA carries the sense of urgency and the message that a child's life is passing and cannot be ignored or forgotten.
Volunteers come from all walks of life. They are everyday people who want to make a difference in a child's life. They have a variety of professional, educational and ethnic background. The volunteers must complete a mandatory 30 hour training course. Here they learn about courtroom procedures, the child protective system, and the needs of abused and neglected children. After meeting the background checks and being selected, the volunteer is mentored on their first case. All volunteers are required to attend regular in-service trainings to increase their knowledge of child abuse issues and advocacy skills.
We hear every day of children who are abused or neglected and we assume that there must be a program or system that will take care of these children and make sure they are treated with dignity, given a safe place to live, so they can recover and be a child again. But the child welfare systems cannot begin to meet the needs of the more than 660,000 children in foster care in the United States. CASA's fight for these children, to make sure their basic rights and essential needs don't get overlooked or ignored. We believe society has a fundamental obligation to these children.
With a CASA volunteer, a child is half as likely to languish in the foster care and child welfare system, and that much more likely to find a safe, permanent home.
Front Range CASA currently serves over 72 children in the 9th Judicial District. We are committed to serving every child. We have 20 trained volunteers to advocate for these children.
Kiersta Sullivan • Executive Director