Human Services

COURT APPOINTED SPECIAL ADVOCATES OF SOMERSET HUNTERDON & WARREN

I am for the Child

aka CASA SHaW; Court Appointed Special Advocates of Somerset, Hunterdon, and Warren   |   Lebanon, NJ   |  www.casashaw.org

Mission

CASA SHaW’s mission is to provide well-trained volunteer advocates for children living in foster care in our community. Our advocates identify needs and make best interest recommendations to the court with the goal of moving these children to safe, loving, and permanent homes. CASA SHaW is committed to advocating for these children both individually and through community outreach and education on the issues of child abuse and neglect, giving children the best opportunity to thrive.

Ruling year info

1999

Executive Director

Mrs. Tracey L Heisler

Main address

148 Main Street, Bldg D1 Ste. 1

Lebanon, NJ 08833 USA

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EIN

20-2625203

Cause area (NTEE code) info

Children's and Youth Services (P30)

Foster Care (P32)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

In Somerset, Hunterdon, and Warren Counties, NJ, there are about 300 children who end up in foster care annually because of abuse or neglect. CASA volunteer advocates provide them with a voice in the court proceedings that decide their futures. CASA's advocates research each child's individual circumstances and needs, making detailed, individualized, and comprehensive reports to the judges hearing each child's case. The advocates visit with the children monthly, gathering information from multiple sources, and monitoring to ensure that the judges' orders are fulfilled on behalf of the children. In the end, we want to ensure that our children have a family and the tools that they need to not just survive foster care but to thrive.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Volunteer Recruitment and Training

This agency works diligently to recruit, screen, and train outstanding advocates culled from individuals in our local communities.  In order to do this well, this agency has retained the services of a volunteer recruiter/trainer who interviews potential candidates, ensures that thorough criminal background and reference checks are are completed, conducts interviews with potential candidates, and evaluates them throughout training to ensure that they are appropriate advocates for the children we serve.  This agency adheres to National CASA's best pratice standards, and each CASA volunteer must go through an orientation session, interview, background checks, 30-hours of training, and a court observation session prior to being sworn in by the court as an advocate.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth (0-19 years)
Families
Budget
$92,000

CASA advocates are required to have qualified supervisors who support and guide their work.  CASA SHaW employees 2 full-time and 4 part-time case supervisors to assist the volunteers in the advocacy efforts.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth (0-19 years)
Families
Budget
$204,000

Family Search and Connect is a new initiative where CASA advocates search for missing relatives or family friends on behalf of children aging out of foster care.  The idea is to help them develop a support network prior to transitioning to adulthood.  This is a new initiative.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth (0-19 years)
Families
Budget
$20,000

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

National CASA 2009

National CASA 2014

CASA of New Jersey 2015

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Total number of volunteer hours contributed to the organization

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth (0-19 years),Families

Related Program

Case Supervision

Type of Metric

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

CASA's volunteer advocates donate tremendous amounts of time and energy in speaking up for children. As we serve more children, their contributions become increasingly evident.

Number of children served by advocates during the past fiscal year

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth (0-19 years),Families

Related Program

Case Supervision

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of volunteers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth (0-19 years),Families

Related Program

Case Supervision

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This metric reflects the number of community volunteers who served as advocates in court for children living in the foster care system in the tri-counties.

Number of times judge agrees with recommendations on the case/for the child made by volunteers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth (0-19 years),Families

Related Program

Case Supervision

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

CASA Volunteers file reports with the court quarterly about the needs of the children they serve. CASA's recommendations are accepted by the court more than 90% of the time.

Number of children who achieved permanency during the fiscal year

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth (0-19 years),Families

Related Program

Case Supervision

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

When children achieve permanency, they leave foster care for their "forever home," which could be reunification with their family, going to live with a relative, or adoption.

Number of people trained

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth (0-19 years),Families

Related Program

Volunteer Recruitment and Training

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

As part of plan to serve more children, we've added a third volunteer pre-service training annually.

Charting impact

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

Our organization hopes to one day be in the position to provide an advocate for every child living in foster care who needs one in our tri-county vicinage. By providing them with advocates, we can stabilize their functioning while in placement, ascertain what, if any, unmet needs exist, strengthen their academic skills, ensure that their medical needs are met, and make targeted recommendations on their behalf. Our primary aim is to ensure that each of these children achieves permanency - that they transition from foster care to safe, loving, and permanent homes with their "forever families."

We at CASA SHaW work to make our goals a reality by ensuring that our advocates are well-trained, that they have access to staff with expertise in child welfare, and through the development of strong working relationships with other stakeholders like the Court, child protective services, and the families with which we work. In order to do this, we must also fundraise and cultivate a significant donor base, which in turn provides us with the resources necessary for us to continue our work.

Our capability for doing this work is strong - we have a proven track record for efficacy for this work. While 12%-21% of children in foster care can expect to return to foster care within 12 months, less than 4% of the children served by CASA SHaW have returned to foster care within the last 12 years. We have very low administrative costs and run a lean organization which effectively and efficiently serves the needs of children in foster care. Our staff is tremendous and very well qualified - most of us started as volunteers ourselves and have a passion for the work we do. We have mutually supportive relationships with other stakeholders and a volunteer retention average of about 3 years. We have the capability and the capacity to do this work.

We are making progress in our child advocacy goals as evidenced by the number of children we serve annually - 240 during fiscal year 18/19 - and the number of people we are able to educate about the issues of child abuse and neglect. We have amended our mission statement to include this crucial prevention piece and have developed an outreach presentation which addresses real-life indicators of abuse and gives participants the tools to be empowered to make a report when necessary. Through our fundraising events and community presentations, we raise awareness of the needs of the children we serve, raise revenues to support our work, and recruit new volunteers and board members to work with us on helping these vulnerable children. We are making progress.

We are currently serving all of the children eligible for an advocate in the tri-counties. We are headed in the right direction of educating the public, recruiting new advocates and board members, and raising revenues to support our work. We've developed a growth plan that we are actively working in order to train new advocates and serve every child in need of an advocate. CASA SHaW is a program on the move, striving to incorporate best practices into every facet of our organization, from administration to child advocacy to training to volunteer support.

Financials

COURT APPOINTED SPECIAL ADVOCATES OF SOMERSET HUNTERDON & WARREN
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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COURT APPOINTED SPECIAL ADVOCATES OF SOMERSET HUNTERDON & WARREN

Board of directors
as of 9/16/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Alice Condo

Johnson and Johnson

Term: 2016 - 2018

Tracey Heisler

CASA SHaW

Brian Auger

Somerset County Library System

Alice Condo

Johnson & Johnson

Joseph Westlein

Retired-no affiliation

Gena Pemberton

Johnson & Johnson

Juanita Painson

Biznest

Roger Mellick

The Doggett Corporation

Eliot Goldstein

Goldstein Law Firm

Ebony Foster

Ortho Clinical

Jessica Trujillo

Somerset County Library System

Cynthia Starke-Meanwell

Retired-no affiliation

Gina Gibbs Foster

The Linde Group

Hyun Lee

Savo, Schalk, Gillespie, O’Grodnick & Fisher, P.A.

Edie Grauer

CASA of NJ

Patricia Toubin

Watchung Hills Regional High School

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Keywords

child advocacy, foster care, child abuse, child victims