Kay Hibl, a volunteer for Voices for Children, a program of Court Appointed Special Advocates, was selected as CASA of the Year for 2010 and will be honored at a fundraiser for CASA, “Puttin’ on the Ritz” on April 15 at the Bridges Golf and Country Club.
Voices for Children is a nonprofit agency that helps abused and neglected children once their cases go to court. These volunteers, called CASAs, are court-appointed, but only after going through close to 40 hours of training. Once they are assigned an abused child’s case, they become a constant in the child’s life, getting to know the child, staying with them until their case is resolved, conducting an independent investigation, and reporting to the courts – which can sometimes take a year or more.
Hibl recently spent an afternoon with her most recent case, a smiling, laughing baby boy.
He wasn’t always happy. Due to parental neglect, the courts removed the baby from his home and placed him with a foster family, where Hibl was making a home visit.
Each child’s case is different, but for this baby, removal from the home was the only option. The child had medical needs that the parents ignored and he was not being fed enough.
Hibl just recently learned that the Appeals Court upheld the decision by 7th Judicial District Judge James Schum to end parental rights, leaving the way open for the now year-old child’s foster parents to adopt him.
Hibl has already taken on a second case, a new baby from the same couple, who was removed from the home at three weeks of age after developing a brain bleed, which indicated abuse.
The baby was placed with foster parents, one of them a nurse, who also want to adopt him, Hibl said.
“What I love about being a volunteer is the luxury of just having one case and being able to focus in on those children,” she said.
CASAs’ Voices for Children, with satellite offices in Gunnison and Delta, covers the Seventh Judicial District, including the counties of Montrose, Ouray, Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale and San Miguel.
To learn more about volunteer opportunities at CASAs’ Voices for Children, call 970/249-0337 in Montrose, 970/874-7730 in Delta, 970/641-8721 in Gunnison, or log onto casanow.org.