CASA of the 7th Judicial District

Our Story

In 1978, the National_CASA_Logo2National Center for State Courts selected the Seattle CASA program as the best  national example of citizens participating in juvenile justice, resulting in the replication of  the program in courts across the country. By 1982, it was clear that a national association  was needed to coordinate the 54 existing state and local CASA programs and provide  training and technical assistance. As a result, in 1984 NCASAA was incorporated and its  headquarters office was opened in Seattle.

Today, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Children is a network of 949 community-based programs that recruit, train and support citizen-volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in courtrooms and communities. Volunteer advocates—empowered directly by the courts—offer judges the critical information they need to ensure that each child’s rights and needs are being attended to while i0917151328n foster care.

Court Appointed Special Advocates of the 7th Judicial District was founded in 2000 to address the rising caseload needs of children identified as victims of abuse and neglect across 6 counties, including: Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel. In the past few years CASA of the 7th Judicial District has worked diligently to expand core services.   The first step in achieving our goals was to relocate our offices to a larger, more accommodating facility.  With the addition of approximately 2,500 sq. ft. of space in November of 2014, CASA began to focus on additional services for this special group of children and youth. With the new facility, CASA constructed a secure playground area where families in need of supervised visitation are able to build stronger, healthier relationships and memories.  Both staff and clients have appreciated the advantages more space has allowed.

The Supervised Exchange and Parenting Time program (SEPT) was formally established in 2009 to provide a safe, conflict free, environment for family visits while custody disputes are resolved.   Some of the children who need this service live in foster homes or with relatives, some live with one parent who is estranged from the other.  CASA provides the facility and the    supervisor for each visit using both staff and trained  volunteers. 0917151353the SEPT program  now has 4 visitation rooms that are family focused and  family friendly.  Each room is  furnished to encourage parent/child interaction with  the least amount of  interference from the “supervisor”.  The SEPT program has been  able to offer more  visits with multiple visits occurring at the same time. As a  companion program, SEPT  also provides both group and one-on-one Nurturing  Parenting classes with the goal  of teaching parents alternative, appropriate responses  to the challenges faced as  children go through various stages of emotional growth.    This training is especially  effective when there are conflicts between the birth parents.

CASA is a provider for the Parenting Education Workshop required by Colorado law for all parties involved in the dissolution of marriage or other custody disputes who have children under age 18. CASA is a service provider in all six counties of the 7th Judicial District, further expanding the program’s ability to mitigate the potential negative impact on children whose families are navigating difficult life changes.

Fostering Futures / Chafee. The Chafee Independent Living Program for older foster youth about to emancipate from foster care was awarded to CASA in the fall of 2014.  With the addition of that program, a Youth Services Coordinator was hired part-time and progress has been made to implement a forward thinking approach to teach life skills and open the door to educational opportiunities.  Since acquiring the program, a youth computer lab has been set up and group meetings have begun to teach life skills to young adults through one-on-one mentoring and experiential learning opportunities, such as ropes course, rock climbing, equine therapy, and other related activities.  This program is for youth aged 15-21 who will be emancipating from the foster care system and have limited or no support from their biological families. To further enhance the benefits of the Fostering Futures Program, CASA of the 7th Judicial District began a social enterprise, ReBoot, to provide youth an opportunity for job skills training through the recycling and refurbishing of discarded computers.  With training and technical assistance provided by a local IT business, Deeply Digital, youth are guided through the refurbishing process.  Refurbished computers are then marketed to low income youth and families.  Youth involved in ReBoot will learn technical, sales, and business skills as well as gain knowledge about e-waste recycling.