Providing a voice for St. Louis’ children and youth in foster care.

CASA News

 

WITH YOUR HELP, WE WILL change a child’s story

 
FAQ main banner.png

Featured Articles


steve_web.png

Dear Friends, 

As we look toward our 40th year, we are more equipped than ever to advocate for children and youth in foster care in St. Louis.

Just a few months ago, our organization officially changed its name from Voices for Children to CASA of St. Louis. This strategic decision will help us better connect with the St. Louis community to tell our story and educate our partners on our advocacy work. Our new identity also connects us with the National CASA Association and network while raising public awareness about the state of our region’s most vulnerable children.

 As part of that effort, you’ll be hearing from us more often—in person, via email, social media and in your mailbox. We are excited to announce we are currently running donated ads on-air on Fox 2 St. Louis in order to help us recruit more volunteers.

This summer, we hired Jennifer V. Howard as Chief Development Officer. Jennifer is responsible for strategic fundraising and leadership, and brings to CASA more than 30 years of experience working and volunteering for St. Louis area nonprofits. Most recently, she worked as the Vice President of Mental Health America (MHA) of Eastern Missouri, where she led a team devoted to improving the care and treatment of individuals living with mental illness. Please join me in welcoming Jennifer to the CASA team!

The number of St. Louis’ children in foster care continues to climb—over the last 5 years, there has been a 12% increase. On average in St. Louis, 68 children enter the foster care system each month, which means we are doing more with less.

All children in foster care have experienced trauma, and the lessons they’re learning about adult behavior are long lasting. Our staff and volunteers are working tirelessly to ensure children in foster care have a consistent, reliable adult presence in a time of turmoil which in turn, allows them to develop essential resiliency skills. What’s more, foster children with a CASA have an adult who will advocate on their behalf—in the classroom, in the courtroom, and by their side about small but important aspects of growing up—to help create a childhood as innocent and as “childlike” as possible during a time of family upheaval.

We are poised to serve even more children in 2020, and with the dedicated support of volunteers, community partners, and compassionate allies like you, we will continue to give a voice to those who don’t have the opportunity to speak out. Together, we can change lives. Thank you for your partnership.

Sincerely,
Steve Moergen, Chief Executive Officer

CASA watermark with red top and bottm.png
 
Cassandra icon_web.png

Staff Spotlight - CaSSandra Grinston

CaSSandra Grinston, Senior Case Advocacy Supervisor, has been with us for two and a half years. Recently promoted, she reflects on her job with warmth for the many children under her care. She says the most rewarding part of her job is knowing her kids are safe.

CaSSandra’s job means managing the “big things”—like making sure children are safe and have the resources they need to survive and thrive both within foster care, and after they exit care. She supervises 20 Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs), as well as works directly with her own cases. She is currently managing a caseload of 20 children directly and makes 2-3 visits with children per week. CaSSandra attends all court hearings with CASAs, as well as educational meetings, team decision making meetings and other appointments involving children who are assigned both directly to her and to her CASAs.

“Children deserve to be children—to be able to walk to school, not worried, just being a kid. The world we live in has put a lot of demands on children,” says CaSSandra. “The children we serve have been introduced to too much about life at an early age.”

CaSSandra’s work is a balance of the big things and the little things. The time she spends with the children is some of her most rewarding work, and has an enormous impact. “I remember their birthdays, and try to do things for them that makes them feel special, like remember their favorite cartoon, or their favorite book. I try to do what I can for them. They are always so appreciative,” says CaSSandra.

CaSSandra's job involves ensuring that CASAs are empowered to refer children to resources they need—for example educational resources. “Knowing when something was hard for them in school, or when one of my kids was having a hard time learning to read… I help them find the resources they need,” she says.

A little girl she's worked with for many years was struggling with reading. One of the most rewarding moments of her job was when she visited her this summer and the little girl looked at her and said, “Miss CaSSandra, ‘Can I read to you?’”

CaSSandra says that reading together is a way to get kids to open up to her, and talk about their feelings. “I always take a book with me,” she says.

“The most rewarding part of my job is knowing when something was hard for them in school and then seeing something really clicks...or in their foster home… in their behavior, and they can show you what they overcame,” she says.

light blue only.png
 
Llinda_web.png

CASA Corner - Linda Mathson

One of the CASAs who works directly with CaSSandra is Linda Mathson. Linda has been assigned to her case for 7 years, and is currently working with one child, Anna* however, at one time, there were four siblings as part of Linda's case—all of who have been adopted.

Anna’s sister, Shasha* recently found her forever home through adoption. Despite being in care since 2004, Sasha’s’ dream was to be part of a family, and was featured on KSDK’s ‘A Place to Call Home’ series—she found a family just prior to her 18th birthday.

Linda's very passionate to make sure that each child gets everything he or she needs. Recently, Anna* was moved to another foster home which was a significant drive for Linda, however, she makes the trip to see her on a regular basis, and remains very committed to the family.

Prior to joining us, Linda worked as a CASA for three years in Cape Girardeau. Linda became familiar with CASA while earning her degree in Criminal Justice and her work as a bailiff and legal assistant. When she’s not busy with advocacy work, Linda enjoys golfing, hiking, and traveling.

*Names have been changed

 
 
 

Why We Give -
Brian and Mignonne Ashworth

1. How did YOU learn about CASA? 

Brian had a colleague who introduced us to CASA. We did a little research and quickly became committed to the mission. Brian became a long-time board member and Mignonne became involved in fundraising and events.

2. What compels YOU to give to CASA? Why is this a special cause for YOU? 

We have three giving priorities, children, cancer and education. The research we did identified a huge need to take care of the children of our community. We see CASAs who commit their heart and time to protecting our children—it is difficult not to support the cause.

3. Are there any memories, experiences or stories you would like to share about your involvement with CASA? 

One of the first holidays that we were involved, we were sent a wish list of gifts for a child in CASA's care for the holidays. CASA set up a room with holiday decorations, a tree and cookies. Santa came in with a bag full of toys, and each child got a gift. There was one child left, no gift but Santa told the child that it was too big to fit in his bag. We had gotten the child a bike which was on her list. When the bike was brought in I cried, because she was so excited and happy to get a bike that it warmed my heart to see her wish fulfilled!

 
 
light blue only.png

Ways to Give

Become a champion for children. Help change a child’s story.

CASA of St. Louis advocates for abused and neglected children and youth in St. Louis by representing their best interests in court and in the community. Our vision is to foster a community where every child is nurtured, supported, and has access to connections and resources necessary for them to know their value and reach their full potential. We hope you’ll join us in supporting this critical work. Your donation of any amount makes an impact on a child’s life.

blue background.png
 

CASA Calendar

SAVE THE DATE FOR THE FOLLOWING CASA OF ST. LOUIS EVENTS!

 
aa middle school boy with aa mentor_web.png

CASA ORIENTATION

Monday, September 30
5:30pm - 6:30pm
St. Louis County Library-Mid County Branch
7821 Maryland Ave.

high res AA toddler _web.png

CASA ORIENTATION

Friday, October 18
9:00am - 10:00am
Bloom Café
5200 Oakland Ave.

GIRL SHAKING HAND_web.png

CASA ORIENTATION

Monday, October 28
5:30pm - 6:30pm
Clayton Office
105 S Central Ave., 5th floor

 

inkind icon.png

Holiday Drive - December 2019

Would your employer or organization be interested in supporting CASA of St. Louis’ Holiday Drive? We hope you will join us in making the holidays a little brighter for a child in foster care. Each year, our CASA volunteers help to ensure each of the foster children for whom they advocate will receive at least one of the gifts on their wish list. This is done through a holiday “shopping” event, where our volunteers select personal gifts for each of “their” kids. We hope you will support this event by hosting a giving ‘tree’ or other festive display of ornaments listing desired gifts or by donating gift cards for our older youth. We ask that ornaments be available for selection and gift return in your business, organization, or church for approximately three weeks from the end of November through the beginning of December. There will also be an opportunity for participation via online gift registries.

If you know of a group interested in supporting this effort or offering sponsorship support, please contact Beth Fultz at bfultz@stlcasa.org or (314) 615-4594!

 
Top