12 new CASAs ready to advocate as kids head back to class

Colorado Springs, Colo. (August 16, 2021) — On any given day, there are 600 children living in foster care or another out-of-home placement in El Paso County. These kids have experienced abuse or neglect and are therefore involved with multiple systems including the family court system, health care system, and school system.

Living in an unpredictable environment can be traumatic for children, and their situation often requires them to change schools, which means “back-to-school” season can present extra challenges for them.

CASA of the Pikes Peak Region exists to support these children, and last Friday twelve community members took an oath before a judge to become Court Appointed Special Advocates (or CASAs).

Congratulations to the new CASA volunteers who completed 30 hours of training before being sworn in as officers of the court: Craig Calhoun, Kristen Combs, Ellen Crow, Ivy Engleman, Veronica Haley, Amy Hartman, Audrey Jimenez-Brown, Brent Leasure, Hayley Olson, Jarrod Stern, Ashely Varnum, and Brian Volk.

Each will now be appointed to an open Dependency & Neglect case by a judge so that they may speak up for an abused or neglected child and ensure the child’s best interest remains front and center during court proceedings.

Part of being a CASA volunteer is remaining in frequent contact with teachers and school administrators to gain an understanding of a child’s unique strengths and challenges. These interactions with the child’s school, combined with the volunteer’s relationship with the child, empower CASA volunteers to advocate in court for what a child needs to thrive academically.

Studies have shown that foster children with CASA volunteers do better in school. For teenagers living in foster care, having a CASA volunteer means they are more likely to graduate from high school or earn a GED.

CASA of the Pikes Peak Region needs more volunteers to advocate for the hundreds of children in our community who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect, or domestic violence.

CASA would like to invite interested community members to attend an upcoming Volunteer Information Session. A virtual session is scheduled for Sept. 1 from 12-1 while an in-person session is scheduled for Sept. 14 from 12-1. To learn more or RSVP to one of these events, please go here: https://www.casappr.org/volunteer/