The mission of Court Appointed Special Advocates of Mesa County is to provide a voice in court for children who are victims of abuse and neglect.
CASA of Mesa County has been in existence since 1997 in response to the high number of children living in foster care and other out of home placements due to abuse and neglect. In 1998, legislation was passed calling for CASA programs to be in each judicial district in the state of Colorado. CASAMC has followed the laws and guidelines set forth by this legislation. No state funding is provided for our program.
CASAMC is a member of the Colorado State CASA Association and the National CASA Association. Our program was recognized in 2009 for demonstrating quality program management.
The Heart of Childhood
Childhood. For most of us, the word brings forth memories of classroom friends, summer days, and the love and safety of home. For others, childhood memories are those of pain and fear and a heavy sense of hopelessness that things will never get better. For 3-year-old Hailey childhood was a series of broken dreams with no end in sight.
Abandoned by her mother, and severely abused by her father, Hailey went to live with a family member in a strange new home. Without the ability to express her pain and frustration in words, Hailey's feelings began to transform into negative behaviors. Frightened for the safety of the other children in the home, Hailey's family member decided she could no longer stay.
As a social worker came to get Hailey, she tightly clutched her only possession, a small and ragged teddy bear. Her lip quivered, but no one would see her cry. Tears didn't come easily in Hailey's world anymore. Hailey went to a new foster home that day, but she wouldn't be there long. Unprepared for the level of trauma the young child had endured, the foster home asked that she be removed from their care after one month. Childhood can mean facing things alone.
Placed in her third new home, Hailey's life began to spiral into sadness and anger. Within two weeks the foster home contemplated returning Hailey to DHS. They couldn't help her and thought maybe Hailey was beyond repair. In childhood, people may give up on you.
Hailey didn't know that help was on the way in the form of a gentle smile and a heart that would never give up. Bearing a long title that Hailey couldn't quite pronounce, her court-appointed special advocate, or CASA, appeared one day bringing just the faintest glimmer of hope. Sensing that Hailey's wounds ran deep, the advocate focused attention on her need for counseling. When told the wait was too long to get an appointment, the CASA volunteer spent 6 hours in a waiting room with Hailey until she could be assessed. As the child's voice in court, Hailey's CASA made sure the judge knew how she was doing and what she needed. Hailey no longer had to face life alone and she began to heal. Childhood means there are people who will protect you.
Now, at the age of six, Hailey has added a new dream to her memories, her adoption. The CASA volunteer stood in the courtroom during the adoption and as she watched Hailey laugh she knew her days of broken dreams were in the past. New memories would replace the old, and for Hailey, childhood would now mean hope.
*Name changed to protect confidentiality.