HELENA — CASA of Broadwater and Lewis and Clark Counties say they have seen an uptick in children in need of a court-appointed special advocate (CASA) to be their voice in the court system.
“In 2021 we were serving 67 percent total of the children that came into foster care so that’s a total of 206 children that had a CASA advocate,” said Sara Hess, new CASA Executive Director.
Hess says while things have been improving, there are still kids in need of a CASA.
“We did have 97 children in our system that did not have a CASA advocate,” said Hess regarding their numbers last year.
Due to the large amount of need, CASA is always looking for advocates to help not just children but families as well.
“Our CASA advocates are somebody that the kids, parents can always go to. Anybody can to them for help and guide them through a difficult time,” said Tammy Heigh, CASA Advocate Supervisor.
CASAs gather information about the child whose case they are serving, by speaking to teachers, counselors, parents. They also provide written reports at court hearings, and keep the courts informed, and update the court on developments with agencies and family members.
Bill Collins has been a CASA for 24 years, and even was the Executive Director for 14 years, and says the work he does as an advocate is meaningful.
“Ive just seen some miraculous things and there’s certainly cases that are fairly heartbreaking but overall, it seems like we always leave the situation in a much better shape than when we started,” said Collins.
Becoming a CASA is a commitment to keeping children’s best interests in mind during an unknown process, if you want to become a CASA you can visit their website here.