2019 Commerce Magazine Book_Cmmrc_PROOF1 - Page 28

AWARDS Nonprofi t of the Year FlyStillwaterOK.com CASA for Kids, Inc. C ASA for Kids, Inc. began as “Payne County CASA” in Cushing, In addition to providing training and support, the staff organizes Oklahoma, in 1991. Five volunteers trained themselves and were bimonthly staffi ng meetings, which are meetings of key parties such appointed to cases that fi rst year. Board meetings were moved to as DHS workers and attorneys prior to court dates. These parties Stillwater in 1995, and as the program continued to grow, the fi rst come together and discuss critical information in current cases. These director was hired in 1997. meetings can save time in the courtroom as well as avoid surprises CASA stands for Court-Appointed Special Advocate and is a non- or confl icts of opinion. profi t organization that recruits, screens, trains and supports vol- CASA is primarily funded through the Victims of Crime Act, but unteers who advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected more than a quarter of the budget comes from local fundraising children in juvenile deprived court cases. During fi scal year 2017, 458 eff orts. Additionally, CASA is a proud member of the United Way children were substantiated to be victims of child abuse or neglect in of Payne County, which funds about 7 percent of the annual budget. CASA for Kids’ service area. For their own protection, 271 of these Payne County is very fortunate to have a CASA organization as not children were relocated to out-of-home care. 54 all counties in Oklahoma do. In 2014, the statewide CASA organi- The organization’s volunteers served on 95 cases with 177 children zation asked Payne County CASA to help start a program in Logan represented. CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to advocate County. Since 2014, the organization has opened an offi ce in Guthrie, for these abused or neglected children to make sure they don’t get hired staff and recruited and trained 30 volunteers in Logan County. lost in the overburdened legal and social service system or languish Children in the court system in Logan County can now experience in inappropriate group or foster homes. Volunteers stay with each case until it is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. For many of the children served, their CASA volunteer will be the one constant adult presence in their lives. Volunteers are the backbone of CASA, and they receive spe- cialized training and support from both the staff and board of directors. National CASA standards require that all volunteers receive a min- imum of 30 hours of pre-service training as well as 12 hours of in-service training per year. Case supervisors are employed to provide emotional support and guidance to the volunteers while they are on a case. @SellingStilly makes business travel easy. shorter lines | free parking | close to home Fly clients directly into Stillwater. Business (405) 372-5151 Fax (405) 372-8188 Cell (405) 614-9600 Ann Morgan Realtor Associate® 723 S. Main St. Stillwater, OK | 74074 55 the benefi ts of a CASA to look out for their needs. It’s easy to become a volunteer. Training sessions are off ered throughout the year. The only requirement of volunteers is that they be 21 years old and pass a background check. After training, volunteers are sworn in by Judge Ste- phen R. Kistler during a court proceeding. Many citizens hear stories about child abuse and neglect and want to help. CASA for Kids provides a means to empower people to lend a helping hand. It also provides support and appreciation for those who do step up. CASA stands for Court-Appointed Special Advocate and is a nonprofi t organization that recruits, screens, trains and supports volunteers who advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in juvenile deprived court cases. Stillwater Regional Airport