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 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, nearly 1,000 CASA programs are in operation, with 100,000 volunteers nationwide.
NHCASA serves the Fourth Judicial 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. 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.
Case by case, our organization is striving to minimize the cycle of child abuse. We are standing up for children and giving them a voice in determining their future.
In addition to advocating for children in the context of judicial system. We strive to educate the public and raise awareness about the role of a CASA, abuse and neglect issues that children face, and ways to intervene and make a difference for children. We host a Child Watch Tour of various agencies in the Black Hills who support the children and families that we serve. We regularly speak to organizations regarding the mission 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.
NHCASA provides continuing education for its volunteers and the community. Stay up to date on upcoming events via the calendar.
The CASA Connection visitation center was designed as a family-friendly space for the people we serve. CASA volunteers can utilize the full kitchen to educate youth independent living skills. In addition, we partner with the Department of Social Services, as they use CASA Connection as a place for family visits.
For children who have been abused or neglected, a CASA is their one adult presence in their lives. Strong relationships develop, and some volunteers remain in contact with the children they served long after their time in the child welfare system is over.
Judges appoint CASA volunteers to watch over and advocate for the best interest of children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect. They ensure these children don’t get lost in the overburdened legal and social services systems or languish in inappropriate placemtents. The Court relies on the CASA’s information to help make knowledgeable decisions regarding the safety and well-being of children. Volunteers learn all they can about the child and his/her family’s life. They engage with the child through regular visits. CASAs take children on outings to get to know them and develop a relationship. they may attend a special event, go out for dinner, visit museums, or go somewhere fun to play. They collaborate with others to make certain appropriate services are being provided. They report to the Court what they have learned and observed. They speak up for the child’s best interest in Court by making recommendations regarding the child’s future. NHCASA volunteers to stay with each case until it is closed, and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home.