CHILD ADVOCATES of Northeast Oklahoma

A CASA Success Story

Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma recently received a call from our Judge about a case that involved two little girls, along with three other siblings.  The children had been removed from their mother and her current boyfriend. The two little girls had a biological father living in Arkansas who was being considered for custody of the girls.  However, because he lived in another state, OKDHS could not cross state lines to check out his home.

A CASA Volunteer traveled to the biological father’s home in Arkansas to check out the living conditions.  She provided pictures of the home as well as descriptions of those living in the home, sleeping arrangements for the girls, clothing the father had ready for the girls, etc.  This information was provided to the Judge to help him make a sound decision about what was best for these girls.

Because of the work of this CASA Volunteer, these two little girls are in transition to live with their biological father instead of remaining in foster care!  The Judge was very appreciative of the work by the CASA Volunteer and her ability to cross state lines when other parties involved with the case could not.

Lives Changed:  Youth Stories

CASA Volunteers stand up for the rights of abused and neglected children.  Appointed by judges, they ensure that the needs of abused and neglected children are heard—in the community and in the courtroom. Meet some of the young people whose lives were changed by the intervention of a CASA volunteer.  Read their stories at: www.casaforchildren.org/stories.

NOTE:  Actual names and images of the children we serve are protected.  These stories are reflective of the lives changed with the help of CASA Volunteers. 

Here’s What a Judge Is Saying About CASA:

“CASA, in my opinion, is an extremely valuable part of our Children’s Court. CASAs are generally able to see kids they are assigned to more than once per month, often developing a close relationship with the child. In addition, they are focused solely on what is in the best interests of the child. In addition to voicing any concerns about reunification of the family or other permanency, I have often had CASAs point out very important issues the child was having that may have been overlooked by overloaded DHS caseworkers, such as hearing or eye testing or tutoring needs in school. Simply put, I wish that I could appoint a CASA to every deprived child on my docket.”

– Associate District Judge Barry Denney, Delaware County District Court

2016 CASA Impact on Oklahoma Children

CASA programs in Oklahoma are making a difference in the lives of children across our state.  The information presented here reflects the data collected FY2016.  The numbers tell part of the story of how CASAs are impacting the lives of these abused and neglected children.

FY2016 Statistics:

  • 1,260 CASA volunteers spoke up on behalf of 3,596 abused and neglected children who were wards of the juvenile courts.
  • 90,584 contacts were made by by CASA volunteers on 1,071 cases.
  • 7,589 independent recommendations regarding services, visitation, placement, etc. were made to the court by CASA volunteers on 1,071 cases.
  • 4,472 professional changes were experienced by 1,448 children (professional changes include social workers, attorneys, therapists, and judges).
  • CASA was present for 100% of the hearings to which they were appointed (5,258 hearings) and spent more than 45,722 hours working to ensure the best interest of the children were being met.

The bottom line is that children report that their CASA listens to them, really knows them, and cares about them.  One child says it well: “She understands what I mean when I say something.  She lets me know people love me.  She says stuff to cheer me up.”

How Can You Help Make a Difference in the Lives of Abused Children?

One way is by becoming a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) Volunteer and working with children in foster care that have been abused and neglected.

One caring, committed adult is all that is needed to turn things around.  CASA volunteers lend their voice to vulnerable children, giving them help and hope.

Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma (CANO), a CASA agency, is working to make a difference in the lives of children in our community, but many more volunteers are needed.  CANO served just 42% of the available cases in 2016. 

To learn more about becoming a CASA Volunteer, visit our webpage: www.cano-casa.com/volunteer.