CASA of Larimer County Addresses COVID-19 with Virtual Services & Fundraising
CASA of Larimer County (CLC) is actively addressing the COVID-19 crisis by transitioning all services to be virtual. The community nonprofit provides one-on-one advocacy to children involved in dependency and neglect cases, meaning they have experienced some sort of abuse. Normally, volunteer advocates meet weekly with the child or children on their case, attend court hearings, and provide written reports to help the courts decide where the child(ren) should be placed permanently.
“As you can imagine, moving to a virtual platform has completely changed our service delivery” says Sabrina Stoker, Executive Director. CASA employees are actively training the 140 CASA volunteers on how to use digital tools, so that the children who have come to know and depend on their CASA volunteers aren’t left isolated. “We are leaning into our mission to keep children connected,” says Stoker.
CLC’s Supervised and Safe Exchange program poses even more logistical challenges. For parents who can only see their children via supervised visitation, self-quarantine and social distancing could mean not seeing their children at all. Instead, CLC has implemented virtual supervised visits between parents and children. A certified CLC staff person can host the meeting through Zoom, and child and parent video call-in separately.
Program Director, Jen Ryan recognizes how important it is for families to maintain relationships during this especially difficult time. “We are proud to be one of the first organizations in the state to transition fully to virtual supervised visitation, and we’re informing other programs on the process. It’s not perfect, but we’re able to help families stay connected during a time when everyone can use extra support.”
CLC’s only large-scale fundraiser is also going digital. The annual Light of Hope breakfast, scheduled for Wednesday, March 25, raises more than 10 percent of CLC’s operating budget. The implications of moving to a virtual event are unknown, but CLC is hopeful the virtual event will raise the funds necessary to continue its vital services. Community members can tune in to www.lightofhope.online starting March 25 to attend the virtual breakfast, learn about volunteering, or donate to the cause.