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Fillmore County CASA Program

On July 1, 2016, Fillmore County CASA in Geneva developed a partnership with CASA of South Central Nebraska in Hastings. CASA board members from both groups came together and developed a strategic plan to help Fillmore County CASA grow and expand and be able to do more for the CASA children and families.  
Ruann Root, who is executive director of South Central CASA, assisted Fillmore County CASA, by writing grants that helped CASA provide more services for the children that they serve. By partnering with South Central CASA, Fillmore County CASA is able to provide a more holistic approach with helping children whom are victims of alleged abuse and neglect and who are in the Juvenile Court System.
Fillmore County CASA has had the opportunity to help CASA children who have been removed from their home for safety reasons and by no fault of their own. For instance, new beds were provided from funds shared by CASA of South Central’s Family Assistance funds.  
New suitcases were filled with new clothing and hygiene items which were provided by the Snow Redfern Grant.  Referrals have come from school counselors, Health and Human Service workers and other professionals in the area.  As cases grew in Fillmore County so did these requests.  Currently, all available funds have been spent for new suitcases, until the Snow Redfern grant is approved for this next fiscal year.
Deb Mohlman, volunteer coordinator for CASA, is currently working with Shirley Kamler who coordinates youth activities at the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center and CASA staff appreciates her willingness to help with the “Suitcases for Kids project.” She has arranged to have a couple youth volunteers help CASA staff with stuffing the suitcases with newly purchases items. This has been a great way for two agencies to work together in the community to help others in need.
In addition, CASA’s main goal is to provide youth who are alleged victims of abuse and neglect a CASA volunteer.  CASA volunteer is an advocate for them during family and juvenile court proceedings.  
These children oftentimes have had more than one placement and have been removed from their home due to safety concerns and for their wellbeing.  
 A CASA is one consistent person in their life who is there for them, visits them regularly and expresses their wishes and concerns to the judge. A CASA is a volunteer who looks out for what is in the best interest of the child. CASA volunteers want to make sure the child is placed in a safe and permanent and loving home, whether it be their own home or foster care.
Fillmore County CASA currently now has seven active volunteers, and have three additional applicants starting in the independent study in Geneva and the group study in Hastings. Once they have completed their training successfully, Fillmore County CASA will have 10 volunteers to begin this new fiscal year.  
However, there is always a need for more volunteers as it is possible that cases will grow throughout the year.  CASA’s main goal is that no child in the juvenile court system will be without a CASA volunteer to advocate for them during a very difficult time in their life.