Agency - Family Advocates
|Last updated on August 14, 2013|
Family Advocates provides a voice for children and support for families.
Family Advocates is the parent agency for two programs:
The CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) program provides the court with trained volunteers who act as Guardians ad Litems. A Guardian ad Litem is an independent third party advocate, matched with an abused or neglected child who has come under the protective custody of the Department of Health and Welfare. A guardian provides a judge with a carefully researched background of the child to help the court make a sound decision about that child's future. To determine what is in the child's best interest, a guardian visits the child regularly, meets with anyone linked to the child, ensures any medical or psychological victim services are provided, follows up with parents' compliance with court agreements. The goal of the CASA program is to ensure children placed in foster are provided with a safe, permanent home.
The Families First program is a voluntary home-based parent education service. Professionally trained parent educators visit families in their homes with lessons on child development, nutrition, health care, and effective parenting skills. The primary goal of Families First is to help parents keep their families whole and healthy and give their children the best possible start in life. To do this, Families First works one-on-one with families to increase knowledge of and confidence in parenting skills.
Two region IV foster families, Mr. and Mrs. Glen Hogin and Mr. and Mrs. Richard Murphy, founded Family Advocate Program in 1978. Both families had provided foster care for over 25 children. As foster parents, they provided unique services in that they encouraged natural parent contact for the benefit of the child and advocated for supportive services for the parents. They believed that many of the children referred to them would be better served in their own homes with supportive, voluntary home visiting services. They also wanted to find some ways to reduce the number of children coming into foster care.
In 1979 the Junior Leagues of Boise helped secure a three year federal grant under the Child Abuse and Neglect Grant Program. Health and Welfare continued to fund the program after the pilot program proved to be a success and United Way began funding the program in 1984.
In 1995, the program that had become known as Families First, changed its staffing structure from a para professional and voluntary model to employing professional trained parent educators. Partnerships with Central District Health, St. Luke Regional Medical Center as well as referrals from schools, families, child service agencies, counselors and other help parents take advantage of Family Advocate Program’s in-home parent education services.
In 1998, the Families First program was awarded a grant from the Albertson’s Foundation to implement the Parents as Teachers program, which provides information to increase a parent’s knowledge of child development and ways to stimulate learning. That same year, the agency began coordinating a statewide Idaho Family Education Project through a grant from the US Department of Education. This project eventually became the Idaho Parent Information and Resource Center (PIRC) program that is still in effect as of this day.
The Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program launched in late 1979 thanks to the Junior League of Boise that wanted to bring a Guardian ad Litem program from Seattle to Boise. Late in 1980, the Boise Bar Association endorsed the idea and provided assistance in obtaining funding from the American Bar Association to start the program. Initially the program was administered by an advisory committee made up of Family Advocate Program staff and Board, the Boise Bar Association, the Junior League of Boise, the Department of Health & Welfare, the presiding Juvenile Court Magistrate, the Juvenile Deputy prosecutor, the public defender’s office and several community members. The Honorable Richard Grant, Juvenile Magistrate, approved a pilot Guardian ad Litem program in Ada County, with the stipulation that volunteer legal counsel be included in test cases.
1982, the CASA program officially accepted its first child protection referral and the following year the program was formally incorporated as a service administered by Family Advocate Program. In 1986, the Guardian Ad Litem program changed adopted the Court Appointed Special Advocates name to align with the national program. In 1988, United Way awarded its first grant to the CASA program.
In 1986, Family Advocate Program was led by Board Member Eric Haff who took an active role with legislators to revise the Child Protection Act. The Act more clearly defined the Guardian Ad Litem role making it a party to the legal action and providing state funding. In 1989, state legislation was passed which provided for the establishment of a CASA program in each of Idaho’s seven judicial districts.
In 2004, CASA received funding from Elmore County Commissioners to open a branch office in Mountain Home to serve cases.
In 2008, Family Advocate Program celebrated its 30th birthday by changing its name to Family Advocates. To recognized the agency’s growth and change over the years, a new look was created. In addition, the word program was dropped from the name as it was felt the agency had become much than a program. It had become a movement attracting hundreds of volunteers who spend thousands of hours advocating for families and children. The new name, Family Advocates encompasses the work of both CASA and Families First as well as better reflects the work we do in our community. Here is a glimpse back at a few looks and headlines that have made up our past.
In 2009, thanks to our founders, countless community members, Board members, volunteers, donors and dedicated staff Family Advocates serves more than 1000 children each year through over 300 volunteers that donate more than 17,000 volunteer hours. The agency also enjoys more than $500,000 in donated time, services and in kind donations to events.
Contact person: Brenda Wood, Office Manager, (208) 345-3344 ext. 1001, (email)
Office fax number: (208) 345-3700
|3010 W State St Ste 104
Boise, ID 83703
(See a map)
Web Site: http://www.familyadvocate.org
|We are located on the corner of 31st and State St.|
|Last updated on August 14, 2013|
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