About Heart of Missouri CASA

Every year, more than 650 abused and neglected children in Boone and Callaway counties pass through the Family Court System because they are unable to live safely at home. Imagine what it would be like to lose your parents, not because of something you did, but because they cannot or will not take care of you. Now, into these children’s lives come dozens of strangers: police, foster parents, therapists, social workers, judges, lawyers and more. Hopefully, one of these strangers is a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer.

CASA volunteers watch over and advocate for these abused and neglected children to make sure they don’t get lost in the overburdened legal system or languish in an inappropriate group or foster home. They stay with each case until it is closed, and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. For many children, their CASA volunteer will be the one constant adult presence—the one adult who cares only for their best interest.

Since our founding in 2005, we have trained 411 Heart of Missouri CASA volunteers.  Those volunteers have served 869 children.

Financials/Annual Report

CASA Connection: Quarterly Newsletters

Heart of Missouri CASA Staff

Executive Director
Boone County Program Director
Callaway County Program Director
Boone County Advocate Supervisor
Boone County Advocate Supervisor
Boone County Advocate Supervisor
Callaway County Advocate Supervisor

Heart of Missouri CASA Board Members

Elizabeth Blake
Agents National Title Insurance Co
Andy Bonderer
PCE: Professional Contractors and Engineers, Incorporated
Carl Edwards Sr.
Susan Glass
Sharon Horbyk
Missouri School Board Association
Chris Horn
Shelter Insurance
Emily Little
University of Missouri, General Counsel
Allison McGough
Charles Parrish
CL Parrish Enterprises, Inc. DBA H&R Block/owner/president
Jorgen Schlemeier
Gamble & Schlemeier
Jason Sickmeier
Landmark Bank
Megan Steen
Burrell Behavioral Health

Recruiting New Members

Are you interested in providing leadership and guidance to Heart of Missouri CASA as a board member? We’re seeking individuals with expertise in HR, marketing, fundraising, non-profit development, and individuals from Callaway County, but are eager to talk with anyone passionate about our mission. Contact Kelly Hill at 573-442-4670 or kelly@homcasa.org for additional information.

Frequently Asked Questions About CASA

After extensive training, the CASA volunteer is sworn in as an officer of the court by a Judge and is assigned to an abuse or neglect case by a CASA Supervisor. The CASA volunteer then begins the process of understanding all the details of the child’s case, from reviewing documents to interviewing everyone involved, to meeting the child and his or her family. After compiling all of the information, the CASA makes a recommendation to the Court as to what the CASA believes is in the best interest of the child. Moreover, the CASA volunteer can suggest and help implement services that the child or family might need. The CASA volunteer continues to monitor the case until the child is placed in a safe, permanent home and the case is closed.

Case workers are employed by the Missouri Department of Social Services – Children’s Division. They handle many cases at one time and are responsible for helping an entire family, which includes setting up individual services for family members. The CASA volunteer is not paid, works on only one case at a time, is an advocate for the child, and does not set up services. The CASA volunteer does not replace the case worker; he or she is an independent officer of the court who works with the case worker, and other team members, to act in the child’s best interests.
The CASA volunteer does not provide legal representation for the child in the courtroom; he or she does not replace the attorney on a case.

Heart of Missouri CASA has considerable respect within the child welfare system. Case workers, attorneys, teachers, physicians and other professionals are willing to cooperate with our advocates because they know our volunteers undergo extensive training and maintain objectivity as officers of the court. Nationally, CASA has been endorsed by the American Bar Association and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. In 2007, the Missouri Bar Association’s Young Lawyers of Boone County hosted a golf tournament that raised funds for local and statewide CASA programs.

CASA is a priority project of the Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Program. The office provides partial funding for the National CASA Association and encourages the formation of new CASA programs throughout the country. The Missouri state legislature passed House Bill 107, creating the Missouri CASA fund, in 2001. Disbursements from the fund began in 2003. In 2007, the Missouri House of Representatives added CASA to their court budget giving each local program an additional $5,000.

CASA volunteers are ordinary people who are concerned about the happiness and safety of all children. You do not need a social work background or legal expertise to be a good advocate, but you do need to be committed to your case and willing to fight for what is in the child’s best interest. Part of the CASA program’s success has been its diversity of volunteers—full-time workers and stay-at-home parents, retirees and college students, people of all races, religions, and economic backgrounds who want to make a difference in the life of a child. We do require that our volunteers are 21 or older, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and successfully pass our background screening, but all other skills and knowledge are taught in our extensive training program.