Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) volunteers are working with the most vulnerable children in the community; children who are victims of crime including physical abuse, sexual assault, neglect, and being victims or witness to family violence. After extensive screening, training, and being sworn in by the courts, CASA volunteers dedicate time each week to see the child(ren) appointed to their case and use this information to make court recommendations or to advocate for the educational, medical, and safest permanent home for each child. They are often a support to the foster care or family members caring for the child and are able to watch for signs of abuse. Last year, a child was removed from her mom due to severe neglect and malnourishment as a result of parental substance abuse. The child was sent to live with her paternal grandmother and the CASA volunteer visited her there. Within the first two visits, the CASA volunteer recognized bruises and other signs of physical abuse. It was later discovered that the grandmother's corporal punishment and emotional abuse we leading factors in the mother's substance abuse issues. Thanks to the CASA, the child was moved to a safe home while her mother went through substance abuse treatment. The CASA advocates for the child to be reunited with parents if this is safe for the child. If returning to their biological parents is not in their best interest, a relative or adoptive home may be the safest option. The goal is always to help children can find a safe and permanent home where they feel they belong, thrive, and break the cycle of abuse.
Because of you, he will recover from trauma.
For three long years, Mason wanted to be safe, have a permanent home, and to have a mom. Mason's case opened due to severe sexual abuse and both he and his sister were suffering from severe trauma. He changed foster homes several times, moved to different schools, had three caseworkers, and eventually, he and his sister were placed in separate foster homes.
Despite all these changes, CASA volunteer Joe, was by his side. When parental rights were terminated and the courts moved toward adoption, Joe was the only person who knew Mason's full story because he was the one consistent adult throughout the case. Joe was able support and mentor the adoptive parents to keep them calm and confident as they endured the eight-month long adoption process.
It's been two years since Mason was united with his adoptive family and his forever mom. Since then he has progressed 3 grade levels, his stutter is gone, and he is no longer diagnosed with learning disabilities. Mason's sister was adopted into another family but he gets to see her often. Joe keeps in contact with the family and is happy to hear Mason call his adoptive mom, "Mom," and to see Mason's recovery from trauma.
Support from donors like you make it possible for us to recruit, train, and support CASA volunteers like Joe. You can make a difference for a child recovering from abuse by donating or becoming a CASA volunteer.
Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)
The Harmony House provides a safe home-like setting for custody exchanges and supervised parenting time for children and their non-custodial family members as well as parenting classes. The house and grounds are integral to our services and set us apart from other organizations that may provide a similar service. Families can explore the houses together and use it much like they would in their own home. The Harmony House allows families to enjoy meals together, play outside, work on art projects, and continue making memories in a place that feels like home while the safety of the child is our upmost priority.
As a member of the Supervised Visitation Network (SVN) program, the Harmony House has helped establish best practices for other supervised visitation facilities and continues to be a model, both locally and nationally. The Harmony House is staffed by caring and experienced team of professionals and trained volunteer supervisors. We are open seven days a week with hours varying to accommodate work and school schedules. Every effort is made to accommodate the needs and schedules of the families in our programs. Our typical hours are late afternoon through late evening hours during the week, Saturday morning through midday, and Sunday afternoon through late evening. Our team directly handles scheduling, rescheduling, and notifications of cancellations to reduce conflict between parties and to ensure everyone's safety.
In 2018 the Harmony Houses served 220 children and their families, providing them a 2,449 safe parenting time and custody exchanges between parents. Nurturing Parenting Program (NPP), the curriculum we use for parenting classes, embraces its foundation of non-violence. The goal of NPP is to prevent, not just merely reduce, the incidence of family violence including child maltreatment and intimate partner violence. Families learn new attitudes and skills that reduce dysfunction in families, with follow-up studies indicating low rates of recidivism. The programs have and will continue to make a significant contribution to the overall health and functioning of families. At six months after participating in the program, caregivers who attended sessions were significantly less likely to be reported for child maltreatment. At two years after participating, caregivers attending sessions were significantly less likely to have a substantiated maltreatment incidence. These findings demonstrate the program is associated with preventing short-term allegations and longer-term substantiated incidences of maltreatment for a child welfare population. Long term research indicates a 9% recidivism rate among families completing NPP as treatment for cessation of child abuse and maltreatment.