A Letter from Executive Director Drew MacLeod
As we move further into 2023 and 2022 slips into history, I want to send a Thank You to everyone in the CASA of Yellowstone County family for a year of successes and robust advocacy for children in foster care. I am grateful for this community of caring people who give in so many ways to ensure kids in the Yellowstone County child welfare system have the best outcomes possible. I would like to give a big shout-out to the staff who put incredible amounts of heart and intention into making the volunteer experience a positive and effective one. The work of CASA of Yellowstone County is so much more impactful when there is an outstanding team behind you who is mission-driven, advocate-centered, and child-focused.
The CASA program in Yellowstone County began in 2000 under the umbrella of Family Support Network (FSN) under the leadership of Barbara Sample. The first class of seven volunteer Advocates “swore-in” October 2000, with most of the 13th Judicial District judges in attendance. Early in 2002, CASA and FSN agreed to transition CASA from FSN’s sponsorship to incorporation and non-profit tax status of its own. Yellowstone CASA’s original by-laws were adopted in February of 2003 by the Board Of Directors including Edie Adams, Susan Anderson, Virginia Court, Kip Farnum, Damon Gannett, Patrick Kenney, Phyllis Roberts, and Anne Marie Wade. The CASA program was under the leadership of Director Shirley Folkwein. There was roughly $50,000 in the bank that year. In March 2003, CASA was recognized as a non-profit by the IRS. I suppose we could have celebrated CASA’s 20th a couple of years ago, but if you remember, we were preoccupied with and in the middle of a pandemic. So how about this year we celebrate the 20-year anniversary of being an official CASA program and honor the long list of dedicated volunteers (over 1,000 of them), invested board members, and the energetic staff that has built the largest CASA program in the state of Montana!
Do you know a CASA volunteer? Tell them how much you appreciate their work on behalf of children and families in Yellowstone County. Chances are, being a CASA volunteer is just one of the amazing things they have done for others. It is no small commitment to agree to be the voice for a child in the foster care system, and for their service, we are grateful.
CASA of Yellowstone County Executive Director