The mission of Life Stories Child & Family Advocacy is to provide advocacy and support for abused or neglected children by advancing coordinated investigations, prosecution and victim services through the CASA Program and Child Advocacy Center.
A Kid's Place, founded in 1995 by the Weld County Child Abuse Coalition, was the first child abuse assessment center for Weld County. In 1989, United Way of Weld County undertook a needs assessment to identify significant community health and human service problems within Weld County. Gaps in service delivery and agency coordination in the child abuse arena were the most critical issues identified by this community-wide evaluation process. Pilot projects were formed as internal programs of United Way until they could be evaluated for effectiveness and then developed into separate non-profit agencies. The Child Advocacy Center and CASA programs are both such programs.
The Child Advocacy Center (CAC) was formed in 1995 to reduce trauma to victims of child abuse by providing a multidisciplinary response in a neutral, child-focused environment. CASA of Weld County was created in 1997 to train community volunteers to speak for the best interests of abused and neglected children within the court system, and to advocate for timely case resolution. In July of 2000, CASA merged with A Kid's Place. This merger enabled us to provide a continuum of services to the abused and neglected children involved in the criminal and Dependency and Neglect court system in Weld County.
In January 2010, we opened a satellite CAC in south Weld County, now located in Ft. Lupton to better serve children and families in that section of the county. In January 2016, A Kid's Place added a "Doing Business As" and re-branded our logo and website. We chose the name Life Stories Child & Family Advocacy because we felt that it uniquely and succinctly summarized and united our two programs and will be a driving force in our future decades of work. Our message remains the same: children and special needs adults who experience abuse and neglect deserve our attention, advocacy and support.
In April 2017, our agency purchased a building in the Cottonwood area of Greeley which was renovated in Spring and Summer of 2018. We relocated to this new building in October 2018, fulfilling the need to better serve the increasing numbers of child victims of abuse in our community.
"Being a CASA for these children was an amazing 4 year journey. When one child in a sibling group was adopted, there were those who said that her sister would not have the same outcome. However, I saw something in her even through all the ups and downs of placement and through her struggles with behavior and mental illness. Sure enough, she transformed herself from an angry, displaced child to a warm, kind and loving young lady. It was heartwarming and powerful to see these two young victims not only survive but thrive and have what every child deserves: a forever family." - Sarah, CASA Volunteer
Life Stories was here for the children I have worked with. In one instance a child was interviewed at the Child Advocacy Center and was immediately removed from the home. The child came into the system when she was 12 years old and it was thought the abuse had started at age 4. This child went through this by herself until her mother found out and was fully supportive. After I was off the CASA case, this young woman called me at my workplace and wanted to know how she could become a CASA; something she felt very strongly about. May Bunjes, former CASA Volunteer and current Board member.
Many of the children that Life Stories CASA program works with are in a foster or group home environment. For many of these children, they do not have many things that they can call their own. Every time a CASA volunteer opens up a new case they have the ability to go "shopping" for a beautiful, handmade quilt for each of the children in the case. These quilts are generously donated to Life Stories by a group of women, from the First United Methodist Church in Greeley. These women come together every Wednesday to sow quilts for nonprofits and people in need in our community. "It takes a village to raise a child and it takes a bunch of Methodist women to make them lots of blankets. Its a little way to help that we can still do."