In the Beginning
Prairie Plains CASA was implemented locally in 1995 by Red Willow County Judge Cloyd Clark. The Red Willow County CASA program began training volunteers as special advocates for neglected or abused children in July 1995 and on Aug. 10, nine trained volunteers became special advocates for children. In the first year fifteen CASA volunteers served 17 children from ten families in Red Willow and Furnas Counties.
CASA volunteers are not therapists or Big Brothers-Big Sisters or advocates for the parents. These advocates are specially trained volunteers who work closely with the child, parents, social workers, teachers, health providers and others to determine the best interests of the child. CASA volunteers must be 21 years old, must complete an application which includes a check of criminal and child abuse registries and must express a willingness to serve as a volunteer or “voice for the child” as that child goes through the court system. After volunteers are assigned a case, they interview the children, their parents, teachers, lawyers, social workers and others involved. On the basis of these visits, volunteers then make a written recommendation to the presiding judge. Ten hours per month is the average time spent on each case.
Volunteers in our program include teachers, pastors, school counselors, nurses, college students, probation officers and local employees of financial and business institutions. In addition to advocating for the children, our local CASA program and volunteers have been able to do such things as provide a scholarship to attend a summer camp and tickets to the county fair. We extend a sincere thank you to the many professionals and businesses who have helped with financial support, meeting locations and training.
There is always a need for more volunteers and additional community support. Should you desire more information about our local CASA program, a speaker for your organization, becoming a CASA volunteer, or financial assistance for the local program, contact us.
Join Our Mission
Our MissionThe mission of Prairie Plains CASA is to provide a voice for neglected and abused children in the court system. To strive for less chaos and uncertainty in their lives while moving through the system until a safe permanent home can be provided for them in which they can grow and thrive.
Nebraska CASA Mission
The Nebraska CASA Association works with the National CASA Association to support the development, growth, and continuation of local CASA programs which recruit and train CASA volunteers who speak in court for the best interests of abused and neglected children.
National CASA Mission
The mission of the National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association, together with its state and local members, is to support and promote court-appointed volunteer advocacy so that every abused or neglected child can be safe, establish permanence and have the opportunity to thrive.
- CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate.
- Court Appointed Special Advocates are volunteers who are appointed by judges to speak in court for the safety and well-being of an abused or neglected child.
- Children assigned to a CASA volunteer are victims of abuse or neglect.
- CASA volunteers come from all walks of life. More than half of all CASA volunteers are employed full-time.
- CASA volunteers are well trained and supported by competent and professional staff.
- Judges, attorneys, child protective workers and parents overwhelmingly report that CASA volunteers make a difference with the children they serve.
- Children with a CASA volunteer are half as likely to spend time in long-term foster care, defined as more than three years in care.
- Cases involving a CASA volunteer are more likely to be permanently closed. Fewer than 10% of children with a CASA volunteer re-enter the foster care system.
- CASA advocacy saves taxpayer dollars by reducing children's length of stay and chances of returning to Foster Care.
- 21 local CASA programs are currently serving 43 counties in Nebraska.
CASA in Nebraska
- 764 Nebraskans volunteered as advocates for children in 2015.
- 1,704 Nebraska children had a CASA volunteer in 2015.
- Although CASA serves more children each year, there are still 2,000 children without an advocate.
- The average annual CASA program cost per child served is $1,013.
- CASA has been in Nebraska for 30 years!
I am for the child...
““in the midst of darkness even the tiniest amount of light makes a difference; ask any child with a night light. Maybe, just maybe CASA can be that light.””
Joni Unger, CASA Volunteer