CASA, a partner agency of the United Way of the Kearney Area, helps to “advocate through the court system for the best interest of children identified as abused and neglected.” CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates and they consist of court appointed volunteers that spend time with children in the court system and offer critical information to the judges to ensure that the children’s rights and needs are being met.
CASA volunteers are appointed to children up until they are placed in loving homes and many times these volunteers are the only constant adult in these children’s lives. Nebraska law only requires that the Guardian ad Litem, a guardian that only has a relationship with the child for the duration of legal action, of the child see them once every six months, but a CASA volunteer visits their appointed child at least once a month. “In 2016 (January 1 to Dec. 31) CASA Volunteers drove 29,875 miles and gave 2,625 hours of time to their cases.” It is said that a child with a CASA volunteer spends less time in foster care, only about 17.2 months. Children without a CASA volunteer spent, on average, 20.4 months in foster care.
CASA Client Success Story
After a mother of four was arrested for criminal charges and had lost her house due to non-payment of rent, a CASA volunteer was appointed to her four children. The four children had been placed in two different foster homes, but the CASA volunteer worked quickly to help the mother obtain a job and a home so her children could be reunited with her. Just after four months, the children and mother were all reunited in their home and the case was closed thanks to one, single CASA volunteer.
Partnership with United Way of the Kearney Area
United Way of the Kearney Area helps this affiliated program past just the general funding. We help raise awareness for the need of CASA volunteers. Through the partnership, we have helped recruit new CASA volunteers. CASA has also worked closely with two different United Way of the Kearney Area funded programs, the Safe Center and Mid Nebraska Community Action.
CASA collaborated with the Safe Center to do cross training for domestic violence for the new volunteers. The volunteers learned about the referral process and the impact of domestic violence on children and families. CASA was able to collaborate with Mid Nebraska Community Action to make use of their building for office space, training space, and making referrals to families in need. Both CASA and Mid Nebraska Community Action is able to support one another at each other’s fund-raising events.
To learn more about CASA, head on over to their website here: http://kearneybuffalocountycasa.com/Home.php
Or follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KearneyBuffalo-County-CASA-440360489360288/