A $33,500 grant from the Hansen Foundation will provide needed support to the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program for the 17th judicial District, Inc.
The 17th Judicial District includes Decatur, Graham, Norton, Osborn, Phillips and Smith Counties. All of these counties lie within the primary service area for the Dane G. Hansen Foundation. The Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life in northwest Kansas. In awarding this grant, the Foundation Trustees recognize the importance of providing an advocate for some of the area’s most fragile citizens.
CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to advocate for a child that is in the court system due to abuse or neglect. Volunteers conduct independent investigations on behalf of the child, including talking with anyone that might be involved in the child’s life: parents, teachers, foster parents and neighbors.
The volunteer will spend time with the child, providing him or her with a trusted adult relationship, often the first time a child has experienced this.
All volunteers are required to pass a rigorous background investigation and 30 hours of specialized training. A portion of the grant from the Hansen Foundation will assist with the cost of recruiting and training Volunteer Advocates.
In addition, the grant will assist the agency with vehicle and travel expenses for the CASA volunteers, the purchase of office equipment including a computer, printer and copier, and funding for ongoing office supply needs. The agency estimates the annual cost per child it serves at approximately $1,250.
The grant from the Hansen Foundation will be partially matched with funding from the six counties served by the 17th Judicial District and a grant from the Office of Judicial Administration.