Northwest Rocky Mountain CASA receives national certification | CraigDailyPress.com

Northwest Rocky Mountain CASA receives national certification

— A Court Appointed Special Advocates program matching in-need children with volunteers in Grand, Moffat and Routt counties has received national certification.

Northwest Rocky Mountain Court Appointed Special Advocates announced Tuesday that the organization has been certified by the National CASA through 2019.

"We're really excited," Executive Director Suzanne Fegelein said.

Fegelein, who joined the organization in October, said Northwest Rocky Mountain CASA had already been working on policy revisions to obtain certification for some time before she arrived.

National certification means the local organization is in compliance with National CASA's standards for quality child advocacy, Fegelein said.

"This certification says 'Northwest Rocky Mountain CASA has demonstrated to us the capacity to provide excellent advocacy to the abused and neglected children within their community,'" said Tara Perry, CEO/COO of the National CASA Association, in a release. "The National CASA quality assurance process is very rigorous, and reflects our commitment to ensure every child served has a powerful volunteer advocate working on their behalf and a strong program supporting their work."

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Policy revisions necessary for the certification won't lead to any major changes within the local organization, but the certification could improve the organization's credibility when applying for funding grants, Fegelein said.

"I'm definitely going to include this in the grants I write from this point forward," she said.

Like CASA organizations across the country, Northwest Rocky Mountain CASA manages volunteers who are trained and then appointed by judges to advocate for the best interests of abused or neglected children involved in the legal system.

"These kids are the most vulnerable members of society," Fegelein said. "They're going through huge, confusing transitions, and having a CASA volunteer in place provides them with a consistent face, a consistent adult to advocate for them through the entire case."

Northwest Rocky Mountain CASA currently has 28 volunteers serving its three counties, include seven new volunteers sworn in during June, and the organization is currently serving 29 children within the region.

The organization is always seeking more volunteers and is currently in particular need for volunteers in Moffat County.

For information on volunteering, see rockymountaincasa.org or email suef@rockymountaincasa.org.

The organization is also seeking board members in Grand and Moffat counties.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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