CASA for Kids of Geauga County is celebrating 20 years of advocating for abused and neglected children in our county. Since its creation by the Geauga County Juvenile Court in 1997, the program has trained and supervised over 306 volunteers who have served 1,394 abused, neglected and dependent children.
A CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer advocates in Court for the best interest of a child when family problems such as substance abuse, mental health issues and domestic violence result in abuse and neglect. Children assigned to a CASA spend substantially less time in foster care, receive more support services, and have a dedicated advocate to speak on their behalf in the courtroom.
Beginning in 2016, the program has been fully funded through the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant. The VOCA grant is not funded by tax dollars, but by fees charged to case parties for victims’ services. Funding the CASA program in this way saves Geauga taxpayers almost $300,000 each year. In addition to monetary savings provided by the grant, CASA volunteers contributed nearly 8,000 in-kind hours, worth almost $120,000 in 2016 alone.
A member of national and state CASA associations meeting over 400 required compliance standards, CASA for Kids of Geauga County is a program of the Geauga County Juvenile Court. CASA volunteers are sworn in as officers of the Court by Judge Timothy J. Grendell. There are currently 62 volunteers assigned to cases, but CASA for Kids needs more volunteers to advocate for these children. Over the last 5 years the number of children served by the program has increased by 36 percent due to the rise in heroin use, domestic violence and mental health issues. The next training class is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2017. Call CASA for Kids of Geauga County at 440-279-1699 if you or someone you know may be interested in helping children in need.