On average the Judicial District VII CASA Program receives appointments to 145 new children each year. Judicial District VII is the largest district in Idaho; it is made up of Bingham, Bonneville, Butte, Clark, Custer, Fremont, Jefferson, Lemhi, Madison, and Teton Counties. To meet the increasing number of children who are entering the child welfare system, our program needs more trained volunteers. FY 17 (July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2017) our program served 316 abused and neglected children. That is a 17% increase from FY16, 270 children were served. And the need continues to grow.
The grant amount would fund program costs associated with having ten children in the program. These funds would be utilized as soon as they are received, with training and implementation completed within a year of receipt of grant monies.
The CASA program is also involved in the Idaho Falls Rotary Club's annual Greenbelt Duck Race. The group works with Rotary Club members to coordinate vendor booths and collect more funds for the CASA program annually.
The Idaho Falls Rotary Club is further committed to helping spread the word about the volunteer opportunities available for our members to join with CASA to help improve the welfare of some of our community's most at-risk youth.
The Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) concept is based on the commitment that every child has a right to a safe and permanent home. The Judicial District VII CASA Program Inc. is committed to providing all abused, neglected, and/or abandoned children a voice in the Court process and in the community. Judicial District VII is the largest district in Idaho; it is made up of Bingham, Bonneville, Butte, Clark, Custer, Fremont, Jefferson, Lemhi, Madison, and Teton Counties. We began serving cases, originating in Bonneville County, on April 4, 1991. The program is staffed by a full time Executive Director, Case Manager and Volunteer Coordinator. Our CASA program promotes and supports community-based volunteers who provide advocacy to help assure that the court and child welfare system remain focused on the well-being of abused and neglected children. CASA volunteers assure that the specific needs of individual children, including their needs for safety and permanency are addressed expeditiously. When children who have been abused or neglected grow up without a strong support system, without the focused help they need to heal, and without the guidance of those who know how to advocate for their every need, it's not only their own lives that are shattered. Research shows that they will be much more likely to abuse their own kids one day. And so the cycle continues. Our volunteers are working to break that cycle by ensuring that abused and neglected children have the chance to recover and to find a permanent loving home.
The judge in a child protection proceeding appoints a CASA Volunteer to independently investigate the circumstances surrounding the child, who through no fault of their own are the victim of abuse, neglect and/or abandonment. After a thorough investigation, the CASA Volunteer prepares a report outlining the history of the case, what services are available for the child and family, and ultimately what is in the best interest of the child. The judge uses this information to make an informed decision and create better outcomes for abused and/or neglected children. Each of our CASA Volunteers has the assistance of a Volunteer Attorney who attends all court hearings. While many compassionate and caring professionalsólawyers, social workers and mental health professionalsówork within the local system, too often they have too many children on their caseloads and not enough time to pay adequate attention to each child. Our local CASA Program upholds the right for every abused and neglected child to have a caring adult advocating strongly on his or her behalf. Often times, the CASA Volunteer and attorney are the only persons in the courtroom who is representing the child and advocating on the child's behalf. They are making sure no child in the system slips through the cracks of an overworked and overwhelmed welfare system. With a trained and supported CASA volunteer by their side - in court, in the child welfare system and in life - foster children get a real opportunity to grow up strong, stable and successful.
To meet the increasing number of children who are entering the child welfare system, our program needs more volunteers. FY 17 (July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2017) our program served 316 abused and neglected children. That is a 17% increase from FY16, 270 children were served.
The cost for our program to serve a child is approximately $540.00 a year. On average our program receives appointments to 145 new children each year.
All CASA volunteers are required by Idaho Code to complete background checks prior to receiving a case and at least every two years thereafter. Included in the background checks are the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare child abuse central registry, Idaho's sex offender's registry, and finger print FBI National Criminal Investigation Checks (NCIC). Volunteers are required to complete 30 hours of pre service training and 12 hours yearly of continuing education.