Stand up for an abused child.®
ONE CHILD - ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES
YOUR HELP - THEIR FUTURE
Be the difference. Every year in Colorado, more than 50,000 reports of child abuse and neglect are filed, and more than 11,000 children enter foster care.
Court Appointed Special Advocates of Jefferson and Gilpin Counties (CASA Jeffco/Gilpin) serves the 1st Judicial District, which ranked third of 22 Districts in Colorado for the number of abuse and neglect cases file in 2012.
Appointed by judges, our highly trained volunteers serve as independent investigators and advocates for abused and neglected children in Jefferson and Gilpin counties.
Our volunteers make a difference. Children with a CASA volunteer are half as likely to spend time in long-term foster care. Cases with a CASA volunteer are more likely to be permanently closed.
Anyone can be a part of CASA. Whether you donate your time, services or dollars, you can be a powerful voice in the life of a child.
2013 METRO DENVER COURT APPOINTED SPECIAL ADVOCATES (CASA) COLLABORATIVE TRAINING
Approximately 170 Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA volunteers), Guardian ad litem attorneys and other professionals attended the annual event on April 13, held at the Mile Hi Church community center. CASA volunteers are appointed by the Court to advocate for abused and neglected children’s best interests in areas of health, education, foster placement and most importantly, permanency in a safe, stable home. Colorado Supreme Court Justice Brian Boatright was the keynote speaker. Justice Boatright emphasized that not only is a CASA volunteer the eyes and ears for the Court in a child abuse and neglect case but most importantly, the voice for the child. Dr. Jerry Yager, a clinical Psychologist with more than 25 years of experience in the assessment and treatment of traumatized children and adolescents, presented information that is crucial to understanding youth who have suffered from abuse and neglect. Adam Robe, a child welfare professional and author dedicated to helping children in need, shared his personal story of abandonment at age five and discussed the emotional impact of foster care on children. Adam is the author of “Robbie Rabbit” and other books that can be used as tools to help children who are going through a difficult time.
KAPPA ALPHA THETA
Kappa Alpha Theta was founded in 1870 as the first Greek-letter college fraternity (sorority) for women. Since 1989, the collegiate and alumnae women of Kappa Alpha Theta have been standing up and speaking up for abused and neglected children through their support of National CASA and CASA programs across the country. In 2011 alone, Kappa Alpha Theta chapters gave nearly $450,000 to CASA programs in their communities.
The Denver Alumnae Chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta currently has more than 250 members. The primary functions of the group are threefold: to support the Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity both internationally and locally; to provide opportunities for social, intellectual, and moral growth of its members; and to make a positive contribution to the Denver community. Proceeds from their annual fundraising event, “Hearts and Heels”, help support local CASA programs.
In addition, in the fall of 2012, the Denver Alumnae Chapter donated many blankets, made by their members, to CASA Jeffco/Gilpin for CASA children and their families. On behalf of CASA Jeffco/Gilpin’s children our volunteers advocate for, we thank you for your generosity and kindness offered to child abuse victims.
Look for our Volunteer Appreciation Yard Signs
Yard signs have been popping up all over Jefferson County in recognition of outstanding work of our CASA Jeffco/Gilpin volunteers.
CASA Jeffco/Gilpin is proud to partner with Loving Hugs, Inc.
Their mission is to bring comfort and aid to children by providing cuddly stuffed animals to children in need of a hug. Donations of stuffed animals from Loving Hugs, Inc. will help tremendously to ease the pain and anxiety of child abuse victims and help in their transition to a new environment. The staff and volunteers at CASA Jeffco/Gilpin look forward to passing on these stuffed animals to the children we serve.
Leah Varnell honored at the West Chamber
Leah Varnell, Executive Director of CASA of Jefferson & Gilpin Counties (CASA Jeffco/Gilpin), was among the twelve women who were honored at the West Chamber’s Celebrate Women of Jefferson County Event in November 2012. She was recognized for her level of involvement in the Jefferson County community, the impact of service on individuals and the community, inspiration to others and her professional accomplishments. Through her leadership, CASA Jeffco/Gilpin has built a strong and viable Program serving children in crisis, providing trained community volunteers to advocate as officers of the court for the best interests of child abuse and neglect victims. Throughout her tenure, Leah has created numerous partnerships with the Courts and Human Services to fully utilize CASA volunteers and serve more children in need. She continues to seek ways to further serve our most vulnerable children. Leah is an extraordinary leader whose work positively impacts children in need and our entire community. Congratulations, Leah!
CASA volunteer Honored by The Denver Foundation
Congratulations to CASA Jeffco/Gilpin volunteer Carol Stiehr, who was honored as the August recipient of the Minoru Yasui Community Volunteer Award, a program of The Denver Foundation. This award was created in 1976 by Denver’s Commission on Community relations and business leaders and is named for the late Minoru Yasui, who was the Commission’s Director for 16 years. The award honors individuals who make outstanding contributions to the community through volunteerism.
Carol volunteers for CASA because she believes that child abuse victims need a voice. She dedicates her time to get to know a child and accompanies them through their life, the court process, visitations with parents, school activities, placement changes, sports, foster homes and adoption. Because of the amount of time Carol spends with the child abuse victim, she is uniquely qualified to bring frequently overlooked issues to the case workers and attorneys on the case or before the Judge. Better decisions are made for the child with more complete information and leads to better and faster outcomes for the child. Carol believes that it is critical that a CASA volunteer stay with the child and their case until permanency is achieved.
Throughout the seven years and six cases Carol has served, she had made a difference in the lives of 11 children. She has contributed over a thousand hours of her time and driven over 12,000 miles in the pursuit of the best interests of the children she’s served.
In addition to the traditional role of a CASA volunteer, Carol has spent hundreds more hours helping foster children she will never meet, searching for stable resources for youth who will soon age out of protective services and live independently. Unlike youth outside the child welfare system, most youth in foster care lose the only support system they know when they reach age 18. Carol knows that a relationship with a supportive and committed adult is one of the key factors associated with their resilience and has the single greatest impact on their ability to navigate the transition to adulthood.
Because of the severity of abuse or neglect in some cases, parental rights must be terminated. Securing safe, permanent homes for abused children, when returning to prior living arrangements is no longer an option, is the desired outcome that addresses safety, permanency and the well-being of the children. CASA Jeffco/Gilpin participates with Human Services in the arduous matching process to select the best adoptive family for child abuse victims. For over three years, Carol has served as a Matching Committee member, collaborating with various case professionals to identify the best possible environment for these children. She reviews information on potential adoptive families, along with facts provided by the child’s caseworker. Carefully evaluating all available data, Carol and other Matching Committee members make their recommendation for the best permanent home for the children.
Carol has been a powerful voice in the lives of child abuse victims. She is always willing to do the necessary and often difficult work required to make a positive, life-long difference in a child’s life. Her motivation is truly the children. Congratulations Carol!