CASA of Johnson and Wyandotte County recently received a grant for $22,384 from the Kansas Health Foundation to recruit, screen, train, and supervise volunteers as advocates for children involved in the Johnson Country District Court system.
CASA of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties’ (CASA) Child in Need of Care Program will provide volunteers to act as advocates for children involved in the court system due to maltreatment. CASA volunteers work one-on-one with children to develop relationships and ensure that the children receive the support and services they need. Children who have suffered trauma as a result of abuse or neglect often require mental health services to address the effects of the trauma. CASA volunteers dedicate themselves to the best interests of the children, tenaciously lobbying for the children’s access to the needed mental health services.
The Child in Need of Care Program facilitates children’s access to mental health services. Child abuse and neglect have been associated with the development of adolescent and adult mental health disorders, are independent risk factors for suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and are associated with dysfunctional interpersonal relations in adulthood. CASA volunteers will work to ensure that child victims of abuse and neglect who show signs of mental health issues receive the mental health services they need to avoid these negative outcomes. Volunteers will ensure children do not suffer further abuse, which could create or exacerbate mental health issues.
The Child in Need of Care program’s target population are children ages zero to eighteen who are involved in the court systems of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties due to abuse and neglect. In 2013, 975 children – 649 Johnson County and 326 Wyandotte County, came under the court’s protection. In 2015, CASA volunteers will advocate for 435 CINC children.
CASA of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties (CASA) was established in 1985 to provide trained volunteers as advocates for children involved in the Johnson County District Court system. In 2005, the Wyandotte County District Court began allowing CASA Volunteers for children involved in their court system. For 28 years, CASA has recruited, screened, trained, and supervised community volunteers who advocate for the best interests of children involved in the court system due to abuse, neglect, custody, or visitation disputes.