We are the voice for children taken into State custody, under the Child Protective Act. We get to know their circumstances and then we advocate on their behalf, speaking up for what’s in their best interest in order for them to thrive in a safe and permanent home. We compile information and determine what is in the best interest for a child’s ultimate health and happiness.
Advocating for over 40 years!
The Guardian ad Litem program was founded by the Judges of the United States to create advocates for children in protective care. In 1977, Seattle Judge David Soukup was determined to make informed decisions about the welfare of foster children in his jurisdiction. He established the concept of using trained volunteers to provide information about, and advocate for the interests of abused and neglected children involved in the court system. He called these volunteers Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)
We, at the Third District Guardian ad Litem Program, bring CASA services and advocacy to Western Idaho serving Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, and Washington counties. We are these children’s voices in Court. We look out for their interests during a difficult time in their life. We help them feel safe and secure, and we use our voices to advise a Judge what we believe is in their best interest.
We operate on grant funding and state Legislature appropriated money with continued efforts for further support from local benefactors. We are operated by a volunteer Board of Directors, including members from the business and professional communities, along with volunteer Guardians ad Litem.
It is the goal of the 3rd District Guardian ad Litem Program to garner enough community support in the form of volunteers to serve every child who comes through Protective Custody within the 3rd Judicial District, as well as financial sponsorship’s and donations to support those volunteers. In order to serve all of the cases in the 3rd judicial District, we would need six paid Advocate Coordinators to oversee the 200 volunteer Guardians, as compared to our current two Advocate Coordinators and 60 volunteers. In order to garner that kind of community support we need to be out in the community describing the needs of these vulnerable children and what the 3rd District Guardian ad Litem Program does. We need access to the community in the form of speaking engagements, events, and booths. Word of mouth is one of our most important recruiting tools, the more people who hear our message, the more likely it is we will receive the support necessary to advocate for all children in Protective Custody in the 3rd Judicial District. This kind of initiative also requires funding for staff positions, event registrations, Chambers of Commerce memberships, and more.
In fiscal year 2017, the Third District Guardian ad Litem Program served 664 children. So far in fiscal year 2019, we are currently serving over 300 cases, nearly 700 children . With our Volunteers numbering just over 60, difficult sacrifices have been made on how many children we can represent and it’s those children who pay the price for our lack of resources. We’ve had to stop representing older children and choose which cases will receive a Volunteer Guardian based on the age of the children and the severity of the case.
In order to raise awareness and recruit Volunteers, we need to make ourselves available to the public with informative forums, presentations, booths, and event attendance. Sponsors can potentially help every neglected and abused child in protective care gain representation by financing our advertising campaign, sponsoring a booth or event, or even sponsoring a full-time staff position. Or sponsor a child! It takes $50 a month for our Program to advocate for 1 child.
One paid Advocate Coordinator can support 30 volunteers, who in turn can serve almost 300 children.
Donors can also play their part in providing more up-to-date and effective office equipment and supplies, toys and goodies for kids in our care, money to finance our recruiting initiative.
Our program is a 501(c) nonprofit organization, and all donations to this organization are tax deductible.
Our program is happy to accept both monetary and in-kind donations.
We want to give thanks to all community and local support. You are what keep our program running. Everything we receive in donations, or volunteer hours goes back to helping the kids of our community.