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Community Foundation Awards Grant

LACASA-CASA Funding Will Help Protect Abused and Neglected Children

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan awarded LACASA a $38,000 grant this week to expand the CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) Program for children.

The LACASA-CASA initiative helps protect the rights of children who have been abused and neglected. Many of these children—ranging in age from infants to teenagers—are in foster care because it is unsafe for them to return home.

LACASA spearheaded the Livingston County CASA program in 2011, bringing on director Sara Applegate, J.D., to lead the program. The LACASA-CASA program now advocates for 40 children in the Livingston County abuse and neglect court system.

CASA, a national nonprofit, works with agencies throughout the United States to establish local programs. The ultimate goal of local programs is to find permanent placement for children in the system.

“This volunteer-based program involves an intense vetting and training program,” said Bobette Schrandt, LACASA President and CEO. “Following a lengthy education process, our CASA volunteers are appointed by a judge to serve as the voice, guardian and protector of foster children.”

According to Schrandt, the Community Foundation grant will ensure that the LACASA-CASA program maintains its growth momentum in Livingston County.

“While this is a volunteer-driven program,” Schrandt said. “It requires diligent directorship and training programs which are costly. The Community Foundation funding will enable us to expand and strengthen this program in order to advocate for more children in need.”

The Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan is a permanent community endowment built by gifts from individuals and organizations committed to the future of southeast Michigan.

“We work to improve the region’s quality of life by connecting those who care with causes that matter,” said Mariam C. Noland, president of CFSEM.

“The LACASA-CASA program is an example of the good that can be accomplished on a limited budget,” Noland said. “We see the impact this program is having on vulnerable children from Livingston County and we are proud to be a part of it.”

Foster children are some of the nation’s most underserved citizens and often languish in the system for years, said Sara Applegate, J.D., director of LACASA-CASA.

“Our court-appointed advocates serve as the eyes, ears and voice of children who cannot represent themselves,” Applegate said. “LACASA-CASA foster children—who range in age from infants to teenagers—now have a hero who will advocate for their best interests.”

Currently, there are 135 children in the Livingston County foster care system, said Applegate. “It is our goal to grow our program so that we are able to represent each and every one of them.”

“The Community Foundation grant will significantly impact the future of these children,” Applegate said.

Since its inception, the CFSEM has distributed more than $530 million and nearly 42,000 grants to nonprofit organizations throughout Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw, St. Clair, and Livingston counties.

ABOUT LACASA

We are a nonprofit organization that serves survivors of child abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault. Our nonprofit agency provides more than 25 programs for survivors, their families, and the community at large. For more information, contact LACASA President & CEO, Bobette Schrandt, at (517) 548-1350; or Sara Applegate at sapplegate@lacasacenter.org.

ABOUT CFSEM

The Community Foundation is a permanent community endowment that supports a wide variety of activities benefiting education, arts and culture, health, human services, community development and civic affairs throughout Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw, St. Clair, and Livingston counties. For more information, please visit www.cfsem.org.  

ABOUT CASA

The National CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates – for Children) Association is a network of 955 programs that are recruiting, training and supporting volunteers to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children in the courtroom and other settings. For more information, visit www.casaforchildren.org

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LACASA Staff

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