Editor’s Note: The United Way of Dodge City began its annual campaign on Sept. 1. The campaign will run until Feb. 14. In light of United Way’s efforts to raise funds for charitable organizations in Dodge City, the Daily Globe will be profiling these organizations. This week’s organization is CASA.
When a child is placed under the protection of family court, a judge will often assign a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) volunteer to the child. CASA volunteers carry out individual investigations and gather information for the court. Volunteers also make recommendations to the court regarding the child’s best interests.
The local CASA office serves six counties: Ford, Clark, Gray, Kiowa, Meade and Comanche. It has been in operation since Sept. 1989 and currently has 16 volunteers plus eight more on its board of directors. Next year it will be trying new recruitment strategies.
“I think the biggest reason why we’re important is because children are the future and when a child experiences abuse or neglect it’s something no child should experience, and when they come into the court system the process is never easy and it can be scary for a child,” Executive Director Kristin Hines said.
“I think it makes better outcomes for the children,” she added. “They have a stable person throughout the court process.”
This year the local CASA office worked with 68 children. Last year they worked with 75. Funds from the United Way go toward volunteer recruitment and volunteer training.
“We are really appreciative of United Way’s support and I want donors to United Way to know that every dollar comes back to support the community and people in need,” Hines said.
Those concerned about child abuse or neglect can contact the abuse and neglect hotline at (800) 922-5330. To volunteer with CASA, contact the office at (620) 225 1278 or apply online at www.kansascasa.org.