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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Grant allows CASA to realize peer coordinator model

  • A grant from two foundations will allow the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of south central Missouri to implement a peer coordinator model, which CASA officials say will give a boost to the services for foster children.
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  • A grant from two foundations will allow the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of south central Missouri to implement a peer coordinator model, which CASA officials say will give a boost to the services for foster children.
    Sanctioned by the National CASA Association, the model uses peer coordinators to coach and support new CASA volunteers.
    The local CASA program was recently awarded a grant to facilitate the model from the Community Foundation of the Ozarks and the Louis L. and Julia Dorothy Coover Charitable Foundation.
    Since the south central CASA program began in 2005, the vision has been to serve all children living in foster care in the 25th Judicial Circuit which includes Phelps, Texas, Pulaski and Maries counties. For the first time in nine years, this goal is within reach with the addition of this position of a peer coordinator.
    “We are so grateful to the foundations for helping us move forward with our vision,” said the CASA executive director Judy Waters. “When the peer coordinator position is fully implemented, we will be on our way to extending our service to more of our children.”
    Peer coordinators receive advanced training to be effective coaches for the new advocates which will in turn increase CASA’s capacity to serve more children.
    Waters and CASA volunteer coordinator Leigh Ann Sigman learned more about the model at the recent National CASA Association conference held in Grapevine, Texas, where they were able to network with other CASA programs using peer coordinator positions.
    The south central CASA currently serves 100 children in foster care with 39 volunteers.
    There will be a CASA awareness event Saturday, Sept. 20, from 6-8 p.m. at the Lonestar Plaza in Houston, Missouri. Nashville-based singer-songwriter Michael Connors will perform at 7 p.m. Admission is free and dinner will be served. For more information contact Sigman at 417-254-0074.
    For additional information, contact the CASA office at 573-458-6240, email to casaphel@fidnet.com or visit www.casascmo.org.
    The next informational session will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 9, at the Kensington Place Clubhouse in Rolla.

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