CASA of Johnson & Wyandotte Counties

Lift up a child's voice. A child's life.™

Volunteer Advocate Profiles

Child In Need of Care (CINC) Program

Ballard Yeates

CASA Advocate – 6 Years

Ballard learned about CASA via a TV news story about children in Texas being taken into police custody. This story inspired him to become a CASA volunteer. Ballard completed the CASA pre-service training in September of 2008 and has never looked back. Since becoming a CASA volunteer, Ballard has worked on eight different CASA cases and helped advocate for 16 abused and neglected children who have open Child in Need of Care cases in the court system. Ballard takes his role as a CASA volunteer very seriously and has gone above and beyond what is expected of a volunteer. He truly enjoys spending time with his CASA children and getting to know each and every one of them. He has even driven several hours to see a child who has been placed with family in another state. Ballard has devoted over 2000 hours on his cases and has driven over 40,000 miles in his volunteer capacity. Ballard rarely says “no” to any request for help by the CASA office. Ballard has offered assistance on a number of special projects over the years including delivering Christmas gifts, stuffing envelopes, talking to prospective volunteers, and facilitating discussions with other volunteers. Ballard is such a wonderful asset to our program, and CASA would like to thank him for his ongoing dedication.

 

Eleanor Nelson

CASA Advocate – 4 Years

Eleanor was assigned to her first CASA case in January of 2011 that involved two young children. The children were brought into DCF care due to reports of the children witnessing domestic violence between their mother and her boyfriend. The ten-year-old boy on the case reported that his mother used him as a shield between her and the boyfriend during a fight. There were also additional allegations regarding physical, sexual and emotional abuse of the children. Luckily, the children were placed with maternal relatives and remained in their care throughout the duration of the case. The only other stable person in these children’s lives was Eleanor. Eleanor consistently visited with the children over three years and was constantly gathering information for the court. She submitted thirteen reports to the court and was always able to tell the court how the children were feeling and how they were doing in school and services. Also, Eleanor advocated for the children to be adopted by their relatives. Finally after three long years, the children were adopted, and Eleanor was able to be a part of this celebration. Due to her bond with these children, she is now like a part of the family. Eleanor is currently working her second case advocating for three children who were sexually abused by their step-father. These children are lucky to have Eleanor by their side!

Teen Advocacy Program

Julie Brewer

CASA Advocate - 1 Year

Julie is a fierce advocate for her first case that involves a sixteen-year-old girl who came to the court’s attention for a truancy case but has come to include a broader range of issues involving family dynamics and an unexpected teenage pregnancy. Through Julie’s diligent efforts, her CASA youth was placed in an alternative school with needed services and supports. Julie also strongly advocated to ensure the youth’s mental health and medical needs are being met. Julie does a remarkable job conveying all of her observations, concerns, and recommendations to the court. She is very detailed and always timely with court reports and monthly case logs. Julie works well with all professionals and has coordinated communication efforts due the mother’s limited English. Julie is a positive and consistent figure that has planted so many seeds in her CASA kid’s mind regarding the importance of her education, caring for herself, and plans for the future including raising her unborn child. While there have been many ups and downs throughout her first case, the young lady would have not made nearly the progress she has today without Julie’s advocacy. CASA is lucky to have such a zealous volunteer and cannot thank Julie enough for all of her hard work and dedication.

Master CASA Program

Joanne Denton

CASA Advocate - 8 Years

Joanne Denton has been active with our CASA program since 2006. In 2010, due to her exemplary work as a CASA volunteer, she was approached and asked to become a Master CASA. Joanne accepted this challenge and has been an active Master CASA ever since. At this time, Joanne oversees three CASA volunteers, and they cannot say enough nice things about her! Joanne, by nature, is quiet and reserved, but she does a wonderful job of guiding and directing her assigned CASA volunteers. She is always available to meet the needs of her volunteers and for questions. When Joanne does not know the answer or needs clarification, she contacts her assigned CASA Program Coordinator. Although she is not working the case herself, Joanne is extremely invested and keeps the best interest of her assigned CASA volunteers’ children at heart. She has enabled our organization to serve more children through her oversight of CASA volunteers and leadership.

Divorce/Custody Program

Debbie Siler

CASA Advocate - 6 Years

Debbie Siler has worked both Child In Need of Care and Divorce/Custody cases and has served eight children during her tenure as a CASA. Debbie puts her heart and soul into advocating for her CASA children. She has been met by the most difficult of parents who do everything they can to put their hurt, blame and resentment onto her instead of taking responsibility for putting their children in harm’s way. Through it all, Debbie presses on. Debbie recently experienced a disturbing set of circumstances while working her divorce/custody case involving a young girl. After some of the father’s suspicious behaviors were brought to the Court’s attention during a hearing, he decided to take the child and leave the state. The school contacted the mother and promptly advised Debbie as well. Everyone who had an interest in this child’s health and welfare was immediately made aware that the child was gone. Had it not been for the relationship Debbie built with school personnel, this scenario could have ended a very different way. Law enforcement became involved that same day and a few short days later, the child was found over six hundred miles away. Thankfully, the child was not harmed and was returned to her mother. The father, who had no intention of ever returning, will not be seeing the child anytime in the near future. Debbie even met with the child as she was being interviewed by law enforcement to make sure she felt safe while recounting what happened. Debbie is the epitome of what it means to be an advocate for children.

 

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