What is a CASA Volunteer? 

CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate. CASA Volunteers are highly trained community volunteers who are appointed by the court to cases of child abuse and neglect. As a party to the case, they act as the eyes and ears of the court. CASA Volunteers meet with the children on their case and independently gather information from others who are involved in the child's life. The CASA Volunteer then reports back to the court about the status of the case and the well-being of the child, and makes recommendations to the court for the best interests of the child.

 

Tell me more about the history of CASA. 

In 1977, Judge Soukup conceived the idea of using trained community volunteers to speak for the best interests of abused and neglected children in court. So successful was this program in Seattle, that soon judges across the country began utilizing citizen advocates. In 1990, the US Congress encouraged the expansion of CASA programs with the passage of the Victims of Child Abuse Act. Grant County CASA was established as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 1999 and in 2000 became Grant-Harney County CASA.

 

Mission

The mission of Grant-Harney County CASA is to train and support volunteers who will provide all abused and neglected children in Grant and Harney Counties a voice in juvenile court, and to educate the community regarding its responsibility for abused and neglected children.

 

Who are the children Grant-Harney County CASA serves?

They are your next-door neighbors, and part of your congregation, and the children who go to school with your children or grandchildren. In short, they are familiar members of our communities. And, their well-being, happiness, and appropriate growth and development have significant impacts on the well-being of our communities. 

In 2020 we served 50 children in the juvenile dependency system with a volunteer CASA and our program monitored the cases of over 40 more. We currently have the capacity to serve a little more than half of eligible children in our region. Please visit the volunteer and donate pages of our website to learn more about how you can help us serve more children in need of an advocate in court.

 

Staff and Board of Directors

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Hannah Hinman

Executive Director

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Melissa Mesa

Program Manager

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Diane Ashton Rollins

Harney County Training/ Recruitment

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Breanna Wilson

Grant County Program Coordinator

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Lisa Weigum

President, Board of Directors

Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator, Community Counseling Solutions

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Harmony Piazza

Treasurer/Secretary, Board of Directors

Staff Accountant, Solutions CPAs

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Rhiannon Bauman

Vice President, Board of Directors

Healthy Families Home Visitor, Families First

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LaDene Hurd

Board Member

Retired

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Bret Uptmor

Board Member

Superintendent, Grant School District #3

 

Join the Team

Thank you for your interest in joining Grant-Harney County CASA's team. We are currently hiring for our Grant County Program Coordinator position. Interested applicants can email a cover letter and resume to Melissa Mesa, Program Manager.

We are always accepting new CASA volunteers and are happy to discuss board or committee positions. Please contact us for more information about ways to become involved with the organization.