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Johnson County Gazette
CASA Celebration
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CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties which serves abused and neglected children will be celebrating its 25th Anniversary at the Promise of Hope Luncheon tomorrow. 

The important impressive facts about CASA are that the agency has helped 3,408 children during its 25 year history and relied heavily on trained community volunteers to serve the best interests of these children. 

The function of CASA is to alleviate the overloaded court system by advocating for children who are involved in the court system due to abuse and/or neglect and for volunteers to provide objective and factual information to the Court. 

The volunteers become involved in the life of the child and meet with parents, families, teachers, and others involved in the child's life.  Judges usually appoint CASA advocates to the most complex of child abuse and neglect cases.  

Based upon the volunteer information, the Judges can make informed decisions regarding the future of a child. 

A recent case involved three young girls who endured severe physical abuse and neglect in their home.  Their CASA advocate was able to look past the heartbreaking situation and focus on the girls’ future.

She developed close bonds with the children and the foster families, who often looked to her for support and guidance.  If there were questions, it was the volunteer who would seek out answers or work diligently at the task. 

The CASA volunteer advocated for the girls' needs in an effort to encourage therapy, educational support, and other services that would make a difference in their lives.  The volunteer remained assigned until a permanent resolution was achieved.  CASA advocate assignments average one year in length.

At the luncheon, an adoptive family will share a story on how their CASA advocate was instrumental in referring the infant/toddler program for her CASA child.  These services helped a very young girl – a victim of abuse - with her vision, ability to walk and speak.

The Promise of Hope Luncheon will be at the Ritz Charles tomorrow at noon.  Contact Alyssa Perbeck at 913.715.4035 or alyssa.perbeck@jocogov.org or visit the CASA web site at www.casajwc.org for more information.

It is great to see a wonderful volunteer organization such as CASA having helped over 3,400 children over the past 25 years.  

(Leonard Hall writes columns for the community and can be reached at Legalnetwk@aol.com.)