CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate), Inc. of Larimer County is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization that trains volunteers to speak up for children, who are abused, neglected or abandoned by their families. CASA has served Larimer County since 1987 as an independent chapter of the National CASA Association. It was the first CASA program established in the state.
In 2016, 64 CASA advocates were assigned to 186 children, providing independent advocate for theses children and their best interests. These volunteers, following an intensive 40-hour training on all aspects of child abuse, serve as part of the team that gathers information and works to determine the best interests of the child and then make a recommendation to the Court as to the best permanent home. These volunteers spent 4,858 hours interviewing family members, medical professionals, teachers, therapists, and the child in order to provide a clear, current picture of the child’s situation.
The Harmony House Supervised Visitation and Exchange program provides a safe, home-like setting for supervised visits and exchanges between children and their non-custodial family members. In 1991, the the historic Ziegler farm house in Fort Collins was donated to the CASA program and the Harmony House program began. Community members had expressed concern over the practice of custody exchanges and supervised visits being conducted in public places without the supervision of neutral professionals. CASA used the donated space to create a program to provide a safe alternative.
As a member of the Supervised Visitation Network (SVN) program, the Harmony House has helped establish best practices for other supervised visitation facilities and continues to be a model, both locally and nationally. In 2016, 326 children and their families used the Harmony Houses. Staff, volunteers, and interns supervised 1,396 visits and 1,811 exchanges so that these families could maintain relationships during times of domestic conflict. In 2016, Harmony House gratefully benefited from over 4,350 community volunteer hours.
Our facilities are integral to our services. Families can explore the houses together and take part in all of the activities available. The Harmony House allows families to enjoy meals together, play outside, work on art projects, and continue making memories in a place that feels like home.