CASA is a critical program at MHA. Standing for “Court Appointed Special Advocates”, it directly deals with special cases within the Family Court System that are regarded as the most critical and intensive. These are cases that impact babies, children, teenagers and even young adults from the community.
“By the nature of our work, we are appointed to some of the worst cases in the court system, so these are the cases where extra support and attention are needed,” says CASA Case Manager, Bridget McNally. “Abuse, neglect, the list goes on.”
Bridget, who is proud to work for MHA, says that CASA is a necessary mission in Erie County because these advocates are the eyes and ears for the judge. Their job is to advocate in the best interest of the child and, behind the scenes, they work to get families the support and services they need to thrive.
“The goal is that you’ll get to the point where they’ll [the youth] feel comfortable enough that you can visit them in school or take them out into the community. You’ll visit with them every single month and you’ll be that constant presence in their life. Even the toughest kid will open up to you and start talking about the problems going on at home or the challenges they’re facing. All they want is an adult to be there for them and listen to them.”
Bridget says that the greatest need, aside from continuous funding, is more volunteers. She says each volunteer is appointed to one or one sibling set and the volunteer follows them through their duration in family court. The training to become a volunteer is extensive.
“Our neglected and abused children of Erie County need your support and need to know that they are heard and supported by the community,” exclaims Bridget.
To learn more about this program or to become a volunteer, click here.
You can also email CASA Director, Jodi Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.