The Northern Hills Area CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) Program seeks to promote and protect the best interests of abused and neglected children involved in court proceedings through the advocacy efforts of trained volunteers.
The Northern Hills Area CASA (NHCASA) Program was started in 1986 by the presiding judge, the Honorable Judge, Warren Johnson, and a task force of community members. NHCASA is an affiliate of the National Court Appointed Special Advocate program and abides by its guidelines. Today more than 900 CASA programs are in operation, with over 70,000 volunteers.
NHCASA serves the Fourth Judicical Circuit advocating for children in Butte, Meade, Lawrence, Perkins, Harding, Corson, Ziebach, and Dewey counties.
HOW WE MAKE A DIFFERENCE…
The philosophy of NHCASA differs from that of most other nonprofit organizations which advocate within the court system. We recruit and train volunteers to become a powerful voice within abuse and neglect cases. These unpaid community members are dedicated and compassionate. They are ordinary people who do extraordinary things for some of our community’s most vulnerable people, its children. The advocates participate actively, not because they have to, but because they want to work to help these children find safe, permanent homes where they can thrive. It is the vision of NHCASA to provide a volunteer for each and every abused and neglected child involved in court proceedings.
In addition to advocating for children in the context of court, we also strive to educate the public about CASA, abuse and neglect issues that children face, and ways to intervene and make a difference for children. Annually we host a Child Watch Tour in which we invite educators, social workers, attorneys, judges, and other people instrumental in children’s lives to spend a day with us touring the various agencies in the Black Hills that offer services for children. We regularly speak to organizations and civic groups on the function of CASA and the needs of children. All of these activities not only raise awareness of the purpose of CASA and the needs of the children, but they also are preventive in nature, as people learn more about the issues of child abuse and become educated in ways to prevent it.
NHCASA provides continuing education for the community through public awareness forums, monthly Lunch & Learns, and other outreach efforts. Stay up to date on upcoming events via the calendar. Learn about available resources in the Northern Black Hills via the Community Resources searchable database.
Providing a place for CASA’s to visit with the children they are advocating and a place for families to visit, NHCASA created CASA Connection. It includes a family friendly space with a full kitchen. Games and crafts are available for use. The Department of Social Services supervises the visits involved between a parent(s) and children. The space is also available for CASA volunteers to utilize and teach life skills to their CASA child(ren) like cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry.