A Bit About Us
Here at CASA of Southwest Idaho, we believe in being a voice for the voiceless. As one of many CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) organizations throughout the nation, we are the only party in a case whose sole responsibility is to speak up for foster children's best interests. As a result, when we step in, children are twice as likely to be placed in a permanent, safe home at the end of their case. We are determined to recruit 100% more volunteers, and raise $300,000 more annually, in order to serve 100% of the vulnerable children in the Third District of Idaho. Scroll on to meet the incredible humans who make it all possible, and learn why we do what we do.
Frequently Asked Questions
HOW DOES A CASA SERVE CHILDREN?
WHY IS HELPING FOSTER CHILDREN SUCH A BIG DEAL?
Frankly, it's a big deal because we're talking about children. The most vulnerable (and adorable) population on Earth. Foster children in particular are very vulnerable. All of these children have experienced at least one form of severe trauma. As a result of this child trauma, 65% of children in long-term Foster Care develop mental illness; 42% of foster children will not graduate high school; and teenage girls in Foster Care are 250% more likely to be pregnant by age 19. When our volunteers step in, we reduce these same children's chances of re-entering care by half, and make them 8 times more likely to graduate high school. Put simply, we give them a WAY better shot at life.
Here is the timeline of a typical child protection case, which typically lasts 12+ months:
The judge assigns us a case, and we assign a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). In Idaho, each foster child under age 12 is required to have a CASA, though we also serve teenagers in care when assigned.
Our CASA (accompanied by an Advocate Coordinator) attends every court hearing from assignment on.
Between each hearing, the CASA conducts monthly home visits, investigating the children's circumstances in their foster home, home of origin, and school.
A week before each case, the CASA compiles all of their findings, along with their recommendations for the children, into a report (often with the help of their Advocate Coordinator), and submits the report to the judge.
The judge takes the CASA's findings and recommendations into account while making their ruling in the child protection case.
This repeats until either the child is reunified, or parental rights are terminated and the child is adopted.
HOW MANY FOSTER CHILDREN DO YOU SERVE?
CASA of Southwest Idaho serves an average of 500 children a year. While we do take on every case assigned to us by our counties' judges, there are still roughly 300 children every year that go without representation. Our goal is to raise an additional $300,000 annually so that we can reach these children as well.
WHY WAS THE GUARDIAN AD LITEM/CASA PROGRAM FOUNDED?
In 1978, Judge David Soukup felt frustrated as he looked around during juvenile court and realized no one was there to speak for the child. He consistently felt tormented by this, staying up until 4am hoping he had made the right ruling for the children whose lives he had impacted. His concern drove him to recruit volunteers to investigate the children's cases and be a voice for these voiceless children during these cases that impact their entire lives.
MEET OUR STAFF
Grant and Gift Manager
Jenny spent many years working in public schools, and she earned a degree at Boise State University to prepare her for non-profit and social advocacy work. When she isn't working, she loves spending time with her husband and four kids.
Stephanie joins CASA after many years working in elementary education, higher education, and non-profit ministry. Her degree in Communication and her desire to work in an environment that helps children have led her to our team. Aside from work, Stephanie finds great joy in singing along to 80s music while on road trips with her husband and daughter.
Volunteer Support Specialist
ANGELA GOMEZ MARTINEZ
Data and Compliance Manager
Elisa attended Boise State University and graduated with her Bachelors in Psychology. She loves adventuring in the great outdoors, and has always had a passion for helping others. Elisa is glad to be advocating for the children in the 3rd Judicial District.
Angela joins CASA with a degree in education and paralegal studies. Her passion for children includes her own five and countless neighborhood children she has welcomed into her home. After years of service with her local communities, schools and for the military, she is now proud to be part of a team that advocates for the best outcome for children. When not at work, she likes to homestead with her garden and chickens, bake and explore new crafts.
Intake Case Coordinator
Demetre was born and raised in Idaho, and earned her degree in Criminal Justice from Boise State University. Before coming to CASA of Southwest Idaho, Demetre worked as the continuing education trainer for tech support at Verizon for five years, then in various positions at Vallivue School District for seven years. Demetre was a volunteer advocate for two years prior to taking on the Advocate Coordinator position, and she said, "I will consider myself successful when I am half as competent as Jenny, who was my Advocate Coordinator when I was a volunteer."
Joshua started out with CASA as an Intern before he became an Advocate Coordinator. He is currently getting his Masters in Social Work at NNU and entering his specialized year in clinical health. In his free time, he likes to spend time outdoors, play sports, and spend time with his wife, two dogs, friends, and family. He also loves soccer and he coaches at both the club and high school level!
Jordan comes to use with a Bachelors in Psychology and a Masters in Counseling. She has been working with children since spending her recesses volunteering in younger classes in elementary school, babysitting, nannying through college, and now has two children of her own with her adventurous husband. She has always had a passion for connecting with and helping youth in her community.
Angelica comes to us with a Bachelor’s in Psychology, minoring in Ethnic Studies. Angelica has spent much of her time working with children in after school, respite, and psychosocial rehabilitation settings, and has a passion for working towards equity for all.
Coral comes to us with a degree in Psychology and English Literature from the College of Idaho. She first fell into the foster community as a volunteer with Royal Family Kids Camp where she fell in love with the youth and families of foster care and continues to volunteer each year. She's worked in multiple roles with the local foster community for the past six years with Fostering Idaho, The Wardrobe, and Pathways. She loves spending her spare time with her dog and cat, Sully and Ginny. She is very excited to be starting her journey with the CASA program.
Kayla started out as an intern before being hired on as an Advocate Coordinator. She is currently finishing up her final year of her master's in social work at Boise State University. Kayla is passionate about the rights of children and other vulnerable community members. This has led her into various roles over the years including teacher, paralegal, and rehabilitation specialist. In her free time, Kayla enjoys playing with her furry, four-pawed kids, exploring the mountains, and engaging in community projects to further the autonomy of and best outcomes for minoritized people in her community.
CASA of Southwest Idaho is deeply committed to a policy of equal employment opportunity for all of its employees. This commitment means CASA of Southwest Idaho actively seeks and employs qualified persons in all job classifications, and administers all personnel actions affecting employees without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, veteran status, marital status or sexual orientation. This policy applies to recruitment, placement, promotion, transfer, retention and training, as well as to all other privileges, personnel programs, policies, procedures and terms and conditions of employment. CASA of Southwest Idaho does not tolerate discrimination against applicants for employment or employees.