YWCA Coulee Region/La Crosse

CASA for Kids

The YWCA Court Appointed Special Advocates or "CASA for Kids" program provides professional training and supervision for volunteer advocates who support children involved in the courts as a result of abuse and neglect.

History of CASA

CASA was created in 1977 by a judge who needed more information about the lives of abused and neglected children before he could make important decisions regarding their futures. His solution was to use trained volunteers to track the progress of children in the court system and report back regularly to the judge. Today CASA Programs are in all 50 states of the United States and in the Virgin Islands. The program was established locally in 1999 in La Crosse County and has since grown to also serve children in Vernon and Mornoe counties.

How to Get Involved

A CASA volunteer is an ordinary individual at least 21 years of age with a high school diploma. Volunteers are chosen for their objectivity, competence and commitment to children.

Volunteers complete 30 hours of training in such areas as Juvenile Court proceedings, issues of abuse and neglect, cultural diversity and child development. They make a one year commitment to a child. For volunteer information please contact Jessie Fortuna, CASA for Kids Program Director, at (608) 781-2783 ext.224 or e-mail jfortuna@ywcalax.org or Tom Rhorer, CASA for Kids Case Manager, at (608) 781-2783 ext. 225 or e-mail trhorer@ywcalax.org, or Molly Hilligoss, CASA for Kids Volunteer Coordinator, at (608) 781-2783 ext. 228 or e-mail mhilligoss@ywcalax.org.