Ottawa County Court Appointed Special Advocates, CASA, is a group of highly trained volunteers that work with the children in Ottawa County involved with the Court system.
These volunteers are the voice of the child in the court room and are charged with advocating for the best interest of the child at all times.
These volunteers work countless hours interviewing families, teachers, medical professionals and others that are involved in the life of the child. They also travel long distances to have face to face time with these children that can be in foster care and treatment centers that are more than two hours from Ottawa County. These volunteers work with children in many difficult situations such as neglect, abuse, truancy, and difficult custody issues. These are the most vulnerable children in our county.
The United Way in Ottawa County provides significant funding for our program. This funding allows us to provide training and other resources to the volunteers and allows them to have the most up to date resources at their fingertips. Last year, CASA served 86 children at a cost of just over $800 per child. Research has shown that children represented by a CASA volunteer are much less likely to age out of foster care and are able to be In a safe stable environment sooner than their counterparts. Fifty percent of children that age out of foster care are homeless or incarcerated within two years of leaving foster care. Girls that age out have a 76% pregnancy rate before the age of 21.
The United Way funding allows us to have a positive impact on the lives of these children to increase their chances of becoming productive adults and responsible citizens.
Please consider these children when you are asked to support the United Way!
Connie S. Cornett