Community Connections: Exciting news from Northwest Rocky Mountain CASA
February 17, 2018
Next month is shaping up to be a significant time for local nonprofit Northwest Rocky Mountain CASA, with an exciting announcement concerning expansion of services already in the works and our seventh annual fundraiser, Dancing with the Stars, just around the corner on March 10.
Northwest Rocky Mountain CASA began providing advocacy for children in abuse and neglect cases in 2009 and was later established as a full, functioning nonprofit in 2011. Our organization strives to inspire, educate and empower community volunteers throughout the 14th Judicial District to advocate for the best interest of at-risk children to help ensure safety and permanency in their lives. Almost 10 years after our inception, we are more than ready for a little makeover that will increase services offered to the children of Routt County.
After relocating, NWRM CASA has a vision for our new site that feels like home. The space will be used for therapeutic purposes to reduce secondary trauma for victims of child abuse and neglect.
We are excited to announce the opening of our first supervised visitation site, which focuses on National CASA's priority to ensure that the children we serve always have somewhere to go where they feel safe. Not only will the space be used for supervised visits but also as a meeting space where CASA's and their kids can play games, do arts and crafts, watch movies or even work on homework.
Supervised visitation may be ordered by a judge when one or both parents are determined to be temporarily unfit to care for their child(ren) without the support of others. Supervision gives children the opportunity to interact with their parents in a safe environment during high-risk conditions and hopefully gives parents the opportunity to make strides in their parenting and relationship growth.
NWRM CASA wants to create a space that feels a little bit more like home and less like just another appointment; where children can continue to develop healthy bonds with the advocates in their lives, but more importantly, maintain them with their parents.
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Quite often in our cases, children are placed in out-of-home care with relatives or foster parents temporarily and long-term. National statistics suggest that in the past 5 years, the number of children in the foster care system has risen by 8 percent. These statistics are alarmingly high and don't even include children placed in out-of-home kinship care.
Any placement outside of the home is another confusing obstacle that these children face and it is the hope of NWRM CASA that this space will prevent negative effects that may come through interactions with parents in more artificial spaces such as a conference room or police station, both of which have been traditional locations for supervised visitation.
We hope to provide a space for all parties involved that gives vulnerable children the best chance at a healthy and happy transition during a difficult life experience.
In 2017, 38 children were served by CASA's throughout the 14th Judicial District who committed more than 900 hours to their cases. Through our expansion of services, NWRM CASA will be better equipped to serve all involved parties and increase advocacy efforts.
To become an advocate or learn more about what NWRM CASA does, call 970-819-6233 or visit kidscasa.org and attend the 7th Annual Dancing with the Stars fundraiser to support our work in the community.
Brooke Bumgarner is the program coordinator for Northwest Rocky Mountain CASA in Routt County.