4 the Children supports and advocates for children who have been abused, neglected or have suffered any family related trauma. This is done through our CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) and SEPT (Supervised Exchange and Parenting Time) programs. CASA of the Southwest volunteers serve children involved in dependency and neglect cases because of abuse or neglect as their voice in court, advocating for safe and permanent homes. SEPT volunteers provide a safe and neutral environment for families to spend time together, as ordered by the courts, while they work towards permanent reunification.
CASA of the Southwest, formerly CASA of the Four Corners, was founded in 2003 to serve children adjudicated Dependent & Neglected (D&N) in the economically depressed counties of Dolores and Montezuma and the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Tribe. At the beginning of 2012, CASA of the 7th Judicial District was asked by Colorado CASA to provide administrative oversight for the struggling CASA of the Four Corners. CASA of the 7th Judicial District was able to sustain the program and in the fall of 2013 hired a Case Manager (Barbara Casey) who immediately began restoring the organization's presence in the 22nd Judicial District. Over the next twelve months five volunteers were trained and three new cases were assigned.
In 2015 Colorado CASA approved an expansion plan and a name change for CASA of the Four Corners. The expansion would incorporate the 6th Judicial District and serve La Plata, San Juan and Archuleta counties; counties that had never before had CASA services. In addition to expansion of services, CASA of the Southwest, with assistance from CASA of the 7th Judicial District, implemented steps to reestablish the organization as an independent agency. CASA of the Southwest obtained independence a year ahead of schedule, on July 1, 2015. The goal to expand into the 6th Judicial District would also be accomplished, but proved to be much more difficult than establishing independence. In February of 2017, The Departments of Human Services the County Commissioners and the chief judge from Archuleta and La Plata Counties signed MOU's with CASA of the SW. Shortly thereafter cases were assigned and the very first children were assigned CASA volunteers in the 6th Judicial District.
In 2017, 4 The Children was established to meet the needs of the community to provide supervised exchange and supervised parenting time for families in high conflict divorce cases, domestic violence cases, and for cases where children are in foster care and able to meet with non-custodial family members.
"CASA has been instrumental in many of my child welfare cases. In one particular case, I was the GAL for two special needs children and the CASA was fundamental in ensuring the children's safety. The CASA met with the kids at least weekly and provided invaluable insight into the children's needs." - Beth
"CASA offers the gift of giving oneself to others and the rewards are overwhelming." - CASA of the Southwest Board Member and previous CASA volunteer
"Having access to a safe exchange program in our community helped my family get through a very difficult time period when we, as parents, could not interact in a way that felt emotionally safe for all of us. It was a huge support to know that the scheduled times our kids would move from one household to the other didn't have to be stressful for them, or for us as parents. Having a skilled, kind caregiver available for exchange helped our kids feel comfortable with what might have otherwise been a confusing, difficult situation for them."
Former SEPT client