The people of Stockman are involved in their communities in many ways. We have scout leaders, soccer coaches, non-profit board members and we have a very special group of three CASA volunteers who shared their insights and stories with us.
The Court Appointed Special Advocate, or CASA, was established in 1977. In Montana, approximately 2,000 children every year, suffer abuse and neglect. These children often find themselves in a courtroom, crowded with a judge, a representative from a foster care agency, biological parents, family members, attorneys and other courtroom staff. These children need an advocate – someone to speak on their behalf.
CASA of Lewis and Clark and Broadwater Counties
I have been a CASA for 10 years and have been the fundraising chair of their annual Light of Hope Banquet for 9 years. I was drawn to the CASA program because of the amazing work they do on behalf of the most vulnerable population in our community – children.
Throughout my experience with CASA, I have had the privilege of getting to know 13 kids, all of which ended their cases in safe, supportive and loving homes through adoption by their amazing foster parents, or reunification with their birth parents. Being a CASA Advocate can be a challenging undertaking, as the majority of these kids have experienced things that most of us can not even begin to imagine. The process can sometimes be a long one, but it is 100% worth it in the end!
CASA of Yellowstone County
About 2 years ago, I was sworn in as a CASA. Since then, I have had the privilege of helping 7 children be reunited with at least one of their birth parents. Volunteering for CASA is not for the faint of heart, but it is by far one of the most rewarding programs I have experienced. Having the opportunity to give children a voice in a situation that is completely out of their control is only the tip of the iceberg. In many cases, the children we work with are given access to services that they may not have otherwise been given such as dental care, medical assistance, and help in school.
I firmly believe that CASA makes a difference in our community. It is a privilege to help these children feel more in control of their lives despite their circumstances. Often, they are placed in foster care and are separated from their siblings. As a CASA, I have the ability to help set up a time and place to allow these siblings to be reunited and spend time with one another, even if it’s only for an hour. Seeing the look on their faces makes every difficult day worth it!
CASA of Yellowstone County
I became a part of the CASA program in November 2019 and am currently working on a case with 4 kids. I was drawn to CASA because I wanted to help children navigate through the system to hopefully continue on to have successful lives despite their negative circumstances. I also want to be a voice for their wishes and best interests.
CASA is a wonderful program that is helping to enrich the lives of children as they go through the system. Being a CASA is very eye opening to a world that I didn’t know existed prior to volunteering. It is rewarding to be the constant for those innocent kids that are thrown into a world they have no control over as they are sometimes bounced from place to place and without their biological parents.
We thank all of our state’s CASA volunteers for helping abused and neglected children in Montana to find a permanent home and the opportunity to thrive. To learn more about the CASA program or to volunteer, visit their website.