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.

History

Heart of Missouri CASA (HOM CASA) was founded in 2005 and is part of a national network that began in 1977 when a Seattle judge responded to delayed permanency for abused and neglected children involved in the Family Court by recruiting and training volunteers to act as Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA volunteers). The strategy proved so effective that CASA now has nearly 950 programs nationwide, including 21 programs in Missouri. All programs abide by National CASA Association standards set forth for local programs.

HOM CASA was established with the primary functions of recruiting, screening, training, and supervising volunteers to serve as non-attorney officers of the court who advocate for the best interests of children in foster care in the 13th Judicial Circuit (Boone and Callaway Counties). Initially, we served children in Boone County, the larger county in our jurisdiction. In 2013, we expanded and established in Callaway County to ensure outreach to children in the entire judicial circuit. HOM CASA has served as an integral partner to the family court system, working closely with all parties involved to best serve children in need.

Since Heart of Missouri CASA’s founding, we have served 903 children and trained 418 volunteers. Our active volunteers are serving nearly 300 children a year in both counties. For the past 6 years, the number of children in foster care in our jurisdiction has steadily increased every year. In 2010, less than 300 children were in our local foster care system, and in 2019 that number was a staggering 643. Currently, Heart of Missouri CASA volunteers are serving 50% of the children in need in our circuit each day, and we are working tirelessly to reach more each every year. It is our strategic goal to be serving no less than 75% of the children in need by 2023. Ultimately, it is our mission to provide a CASA volunteer to every child in need in our communities.

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