|Thank You and Welcome to 2018!
As we reflect on the past year, I am pleased to share our successes and growth. The number of families served by a CASA advocate again increased for the 7th consecutive year. Our outcomes remain strong as related to child safety, maintaining permanence and supporting academic achievement for youth aging out of foster care. These achievements are a result of our teamwork - the "team" formed by our advocates and other volunteers, donors, Board members, and dedicated staff. Each teammate plays an essential role to provide youth who've suffered from trauma a pathway to safety and permanency.
I am constantly reminded of the importance of CASA. Headlines continue to bring stories to light of children freed from horrific, unsafe living conditions, of children suffering in the chaos of a parent's addiction, and of children abandoned, unwanted and alone.
For them, CASA is there.
One recent article quoted staggering statistics - While the number of full-time DCF social workers in child welfare has declined by 15% since 2010, the number of children in Kansas foster care has increased by about 40% (10/18/2017). Abused and neglected kids face numerous challenges in an over-stressed system. Today, there are too many kids in the system who are confused, whose needs may be hard to identify, who struggle with the instability of where they will live, with whom, and will they be safe. For them, who will be there? Will you?
This year we need more CASA advocates to join our team. Can you be there? Please join me at a "Conversation with CASA" luncheon to learn more about becoming a CASA volunteer advocate for children. Out team needs you.
From the desk of Amy Boydston, CASA Executive Director
The Impact of CASA- 2017 Outcomes and Statistics
Program outcomes demonstrate the effectiveness of CASA intervention. And, it is the hard work of volunteers, staff and community friends which drive our mission activities. Working together in 2017, and with great help from our family of donors, the following statistics and outcomes were accomplished for the children we together serve.
443 local abused and neglected children were served, an increase from last year. Each child matched to a volunteer advocate who championed the child's best interests while working to protect their safety and potential for a bright future.
216 CASA volunteers provided services to 275 families.
Resources, support and encouragement offered.
60 new CASA volunteers were trained.
Nearly 2,000 initial volunteer training hours.
21,092 casework hours offered by all active advocates.
Time spent with assigned children, families, professionals and the court.
Child Safety - 99% of the children were safe from additional abuse and neglect.
Stable Presence - 95% of children served had the same CASA advocate during their court involvement.
Benefit to Court - 99% of court hearings addressed concerning information from the CASA court report.
- Permanent Homes - 99% of children remained in safe, permanent homes 2 years following case closure.
Let's continue the work - gifts of any amount are needed and greatly appreciated! You may make a secure online donation or mail your check to the CASA office. Thank you for your continued support!
Welcome to the CASA Team, Amanda!
Hello, I am Amanda Volmer, the newest member of the CASA staff! I am excited to have recently joined the team as the Events & Communications Coordinator. I come to CASA with a background in the non-profit sector, mainly in the area of development, where I helped nonprofits reach their goals and build capacity through strategic partnerships and fundraising campaigns. I aspire to be impactful in our community. Being on a path that leads me to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives is important to me, and knowing that I’ve done the best I can every day to lift people up is my ultimate goal.
On a personal note, I am a North Dakota native. Our family moved to Kansas a little over a year ago. In my free time you will find me spending time with my husband, Chris, and our three daughters. We have enjoyed exploring our new city as we try to find the best KC BBQ. I look forward to working with you!
Local High School Student
Raises Money and Awareness for CASA
CASA would like to thank Alex Leondedis, a senior at Blue Valley West High School, for raising money and awareness for CASA programs. Last month, Alex directed a repertory theater production of “A Thousand Clowns,” which tells the story of a young girl and the uncle who is raising her. Alex decided to use the play’s connection to foster care to support CASA of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties as his capstone project. Each night of the production, red clown noses were sold and donations were collected for CASA. Additionally, Alex held a talk-back session each night for the audience. These sessions found several parents and students expressing interest in becoming a CASA, or finding involvement in other ways to support the cause. In total, Alex raised $445 for CASA. Thank you, Alex! We appreciate you and your great work in helping CASA children!
In photo above: Alex Leondedis (center, on couch) and the cast of “A Thousand Clowns” at Blue Valley West.
Join Us on April 5th for the
15th Annual Promise of Hope Luncheon
It’s that time of year again! The 15th
Annual Promise of Hope Luncheon
will be held Thursday, April 5that the Ritz Charles in Overland Park!
For years, CASA has worked to bring together the community for one common goal: to bring awareness to the plight of abused children and those living in foster care. This year’s event will benefit the children served through CASA and will allow CASA to recruit, train and support community volunteers who act as advocates in court on behalf of child victims of abuse or neglect. In 2017, 216 CASA volunteers provided services to 275 families. Sixty new CASA volunteers were trained, equaling nearly 2,000 initial volunteer training hours. This great work has been made possible by the past support of our community.
Join us on April 5th for the Annual Promise of Hope Luncheon and be inspired to help children in our community. The Promise of Hope is free for all attendees; however, guests are encouraged to contribute financially in support of CASA children. RSVP to reserve your seat. If you are interested in becoming a table captain, contact Amanda Volmer at 913.715.4034.
A Work of Heart Volunteer Spotlight
Christy has been a CASA volunteer, less one small sabbatical, for over 13 years and has advocated for 11 children. Christy has expertise in working both Child In Need of Care and Divorce/Custody cases. Her current case is on its fourth year.
Christy's passion for child advocacy is unwavering. After working a case for three years and finally being released, Christy came
back to CASA a year later when those same children re-entered the system for being abused a second time. Because Christy readily said “Yes, I want them back,” these children did not have
to endure yet another stranger being introduced into their lives.
Thank you Christy, for your many years of service with CASA. Your strong advocacy of children, and dedication as a CASA volunteer is so appreciated. You are a valuable member of our CASA family!
CASA Volunteer Training
2018 Classes Forming Now!
Do you want to be trained to advocate for abused or neglected children? A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer is a stable, reliable adult who ensures the child's needs for safety and permanence are met. Our CASA's provide critical information to the Judge so that a more informed decision can be made for the child.
Our 2018 CASA training classes are forming now and will begin soon. If you are interested in attending training, please contact Alli Zuel at 913.715.4033.
Conversation with CASA
Learn more about our agency at our next Conversation with CASA. This one-hour program includes information on CASA's mission and history, local child abuse statistics, the role of volunteers and a story from an active CASA advocate.
The next Conversation is:
Thursday, February 8th
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
This event is free and refreshments will be provided.
If you are interested in joining a training class, we encourage you to attend this Conversation so that you will be well-equipped for the class. RSVP to Alli Zuel or call 913.715.4033.
For CASA Volunteers
Coffee, Conversation and Camaraderie
Join us monthly for an opportunity to share stories, brainstorm, and find solutions to the problems challenging you as a CASA volunteer. You will earn 1.5 in-service credits.
The next Coffee Shop meeting will be held on:
Wednesday, February 28th 9:30 - 11:00 a.m.
Topic: Defining success on a case
Facilitated by: Sheri Rice
Please RSVP to Gayle Hathorne at 913.715.4032 by Monday, February 26th if you plan to attend.