A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

CASA for Kids launches project to provide handmade blankets for abuses children in Family Court

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Serving Kenton, Campbell and Pendleton Counties has a simple but important mission: to provide court-appointed volunteer advocates for abused and neglected children to ensure that they thrive in safe, permanent homes.

The organization recruits, trains and provides on-going support and supervision to community volunteers who serve as courtroom advocates. CASA volunteers are everyday community members who are appointed by the family court judges. The volunteers visit with the children regularly, interview adults involved in their lives, review documents, and make recommendations to the judge on what is in the best interest of the children.

CASA for Kids Advocacy Supervisor Jenny Knecht and CASA Volunteer Michele Bradley teamed up to put together “Cozy Creations from CASA,” a project that gives all CASA kids a handmade blanket.

Unfortunately, when children enter the court system or foster care it can take months and sometimes years before they are reunified with their parents or find a “forever” home if reunification isn’t possible. During that uncertain time, they may experience many changes in their home setting, family interactions, caregivers, schools, and other relationships. Sometimes the most steady and reliable relationship is with their CASA volunteer.

Earlier this year, CASA for Kids launched a new project called “Cozy Creations from CASA” to ensure that every abused and neglected child that CASA serves receives a handmade blanket. The blankets are made from CASA volunteers themselves, along with help from Project Linus of Southwest Ohio, whose mission it is to provide “a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new handmade blankets.”

Thanks to the community partnerships, CASA for Kids staff and volunteers will be able to continue providing blankets to all CASA children, which will serve as a comforting reminder of the special CASA relationship, even as the child experiences moves or other changing circumstances.

“We wanted to give our CASA kids something of their own that symbolizes security, warmth, and love,” said Nicky Jeffries, the CASA for Kids Executive Director. “We couldn’t be more grateful to our staff for heading up this project, and our volunteers that have spent hours making blankets in addition to the many hours they spend on their cases. We are also grateful for Project Linus for the endless blankets they have delivered to ensure this project continues on for every CASA child in the future.”

In 2020, CASA for Kids advocated for 195 children through the efforts of 60 volunteers. While this may seem like a lot, there are still over 1,000 kids in the court systems of Kenton, Campbell and Pendleton counties who could use the voice of a CASA volunteer.

CASA for Kids is a local program of a nationwide non-profit organization. CASA volunteers come from all socio- and economic backgrounds, bringing a wide variety of experience to the agency. Volunteers are required to be a minimum of 21 years of age, complete an application, undergo background checks and complete a 30-hour training course. CASA for Kids asks that volunteers be willing to commit to the program for 2 years, in order to provide consistency to children in an otherwise ever-changing system.

To learn more about CASA for Kids or how to become a volunteer click here or call our office at 859-392-1792 to sign up for the next informational meeting.

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