Each year in the United States nearly 400,000 children are abused, neglected, or abandoned by their families. Many of these children also become victims of an over-burdened court system which frequently does not have time to give detailed attention to each child who comes before it. Routt, Grand and Moffat Counties are not immune to these issues. That’s where Northwest Rocky Mountain CASA comes in.
Each year there are new cases filed with the court and anywhere from 30-90 children are eligible for CASA services in Colorado's 14th Judicial District, served by Northwest Rocky Mountain CASA.
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) are "friends of the Court" who are appointed by Judges to provide the Court with information pertaining to the child, including the child's wishes. CASAs are involved with the court hearings and work with attorneys and social workers.
CASA volunteers help assure the child's emotional, physical, educational, spiritual, social and mental health needs are being met. When a CASA volunteer is appointed to a child's case, he or she is responsible for taking the time to find out as much as possible about that child. They review records, interview parents, talk to teachers, neighbors and, most importantly, the child. CASAs meet with the children for whom they are advocating 2-4 times a month and form a trusting relationship so the CASA can advocate for the child. These volunteers then submit a report to the court with recommendations to support the child's well being.
Perhaps the CASA volunteers' most important contribution is their regular and close contact with the child. They become a much-needed support for the child, who may be living in an out-of-home placement, and who is overwhelmed by the complexities of the child welfare system. A CASA monitors a child's case until a permanent plan for the child's placement is approved by the court. Additionally, local Judges have stated that they find the CASA perspective on a case invaluable and it helps them have a better understanding of what is happening in the case.