Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)
Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers work 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 abuse. He changed foster homes several times, moved to different schools and had three caseworkers.
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 three years since Mason was united with his adoptive family and his forever mom. Since then he has progressed 4 grade levels, his stutter is gone, and he is no longer diagnosed with learning disabilities. Joe keeps in contact with the family and is happy to hear Mason call his adoptive mom, "Mom," and to see Mason become a young man.
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 Family Connections program 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 house together and use it much like they would their own home. Families enjoy meals together, play outside, work on art projects, and make memories in a place that feels like home, while maintaining the safety of the child. Documentation from these services helps the court determine whether it's safe for a child to begin unsupervised visitation, or return to the custody of their parent(s) or guardian(s). In 2020, we expanded services to include parenting programs and case management.
As a member of the Supervised Visitation Network (SVN), the Family Connections program has helped establish best practices for other supervised visitation facilities and continues to be a model, both locally and nationally. The program is staffed by a caring and team of trauma informed professionals. We are open six 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 all communication between parents to reduce conflict between parties and to ensure everyone's safety.
Taking a holistic, family-centered approach, the Family Connections program has the opportunity to strengthen parenting skills and provide connections to community resources to support the family long after services at CLC end. The Nurturing Parenting Program brings a trauma-informed approach to parenting classes. Parents participate in customized lessons to build their parenting skills and knowledge. Lessons are focused in five areas: child development, empathy, appropriate family roles, child independence and discipline. During visits with their child, parents implement skills and lessons learned with the support of parent coaching from their family case manager. Combining these services makes a real impact on the rates of recurrence of child abuse and neglect in our community.
Upon ending services to have unsupervised time, one parent shared, "Your work and these classes have been invaluable to me as a parent. The kids and I are going to miss you very much. I have learned so much and would like to continue receiving these resources so I can continue to grow as a parent for my children"