Skip to main content

Blogs & News


See how we’re making a difference in our community.

We’ve been working hard to help the abused and neglected youth in our community find safe, permanent homes. Here’s what we’ve been up to lately:

When National Foster Care Month and Mother’s Day are celebrated in the same month, there is an opportunity to be mindful of the need for kindness and love extended to those we encounter.

Hall-Dawson CASA Development Specialist shares the 2021 Annual Impact Report, as well as highlights: successes, milestones and a celebration of the impact made by our CASA Volunteers and supporters.

Guest blogger Erwin K. Bligen shares his story of advocating for children and his recent return to the work he loves.

Executive Director Janet Walden encourages us to remember the important adults in our childhood and consider what our impact will be in honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Thriving families depend on strong support systems, which can come from family, friends, neighbors and others in the community. Families need connections to local economic support services, housing assistance and nutritional necessities to help maintain their foundation and reduce child welfare interactions that could be prevented by meeting families’ basic needs.

Newly appointed Advocacy Director Christie Ledlow-Hodges shares her vision for her leadership role at Hall-Dawson CASA.

Zoom won’t go away even when we are allowed to bring “large calendars” back into our small courtrooms and narrow hallway.  We will continue to use Zoom to allow foster parents, children, and CASA volunteers to participate when they just can’t come to the courthouse.  But I am hoping that I’ll have children back in my courtroom to give the occasion hug when needed very soon….

This work we do in child welfare is costly. To pour oneself out, to stand in places that are uncomfortable, chaotic even, and be the calm that a child, a parent, or colleague needs to feel. To be the consistent, the constant in a place in a child’s life, even when they push against you, as they often do. Even when, especially when, the brokenness of a system breaks your heart. Again.

Celebrating those who have made child advocacy a priority in their lives and have helped to transform a child’s chaotic present into a promising future.

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” — Nelson Mandela

As she and her family prepare for a new chapter in their lives, Advocacy Director Natalie Vinzant reflects on her time with Hall-Dawson CASA, and her gratitude for those who have walked alongside her in this work.

“Together we are more than any one person could be. Together we can build across the generations. Together we can renew our hope and faith in the life that is yet to unfold. Together we can heed the call to a ministry of care and justice. We are ever bound in community. May it always be so.” ~Rev. Peter Raible

Janet Walden, Executive Director, shares a video with the voices of some of our amazing CASA Volunteers. She is sure you will agree, there is nothing quite like a CASA Volunteer!

Grief is especially hard to talk about during the holidays, but let’s discuss why it is still important.

“We lose ourselves in the things we love. We find ourselves there too.” -Kristin Martz

At Hall-Dawson CASA, the work that is being done doesn’t take place inside the walls of our building, The Little House. Because our Advocates serve children who are experiencing foster care, their work is done in many ways and in many places.

In going through life, it makes a difference to use the correct tools in accomplishing any task. Today we’d like to share with you a new tool and invite you to join us in the conversation.

This past week, our CASA program experienced a milestone that many programs are never able to claim – we celebrated a volunteer at her 20-year anniversary of being a CASA! This is an incredible milestone for her, our program, and the nationwide CASA family.

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” — William Shakespeare

Helen Keller said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” We each have an opportunity to make a difference in our community – to make it better.

Executive Director Janet Walden shares her appreciation for CASA Volunteers and the importance of the connection each makes with the child or youth for whom they are advocating.

Is there such thing as a “perfect CASA Volunteer?” Come read this week’s blog as we discuss who can be a volunteer.

“Space and stillness is the light that illuminates the beauty of our soul’s being.” -Adyashanti

Perspective (pər-ˈspek-tiv): a way of regarding situations and facts, and judging their relative importance; the proper or accurate point of view or the ability to see it.

Executive Director Janet Walden shares her experience, adapting to a new role in the child welfare system.

If you have a concern for a child’s safety, would you know how and to whom to report your concerns? Read today’s blog to find out why it is important and how to make a report.

September is National Recovery Month, a time to celebrate the progress made by those in recovery from substance use disorders and mental health diagnoses. Advocate Supervisor Christie Ledlow-Hodges speaks about this celebration and how it impacts the work at Hall-Dawson CASA.

Mar-Jac beautifully models responsible and compassionate corporate citizenship in our community. “We are in the business to be profitable but we must be a good steward with those profits,” says Joel Williams, Mar-Jac Poultry Vice-President of Operations.

Executive Director Janet Walden contemplates what success means in work of our local CASA program, and how a broken heart can lead to a greater capacity for empathy, compassion and care.

Judge Joe R. Diaz reflects on his experiences in the Juvenile Courtroom, and the important role CASA plays for the children involved, and for him.

The world of child welfare is challenging, but knowledge and awareness shift our perspective to empathy and hope.

“Sunflowers end up facing the sun, but they go through a lot of dirt to find their way there.” -J.R. Rim

I cannot imagine the emotions being experienced by these little ones. They are uprooted from their home, family and possibly school – through no fault of their own – and placed into an unfamiliar setting, for an unknown duration.

Join Executive Director Janet Walden as she helps reframe the potential and promise of youth experiencing foster care.

Robbie McCormac is the Hall-Dawson CASA Volunteer of the Year!

Tracy L. Verrigni reminisces over summer sleepovers and making memories.

John Siegel has now painted 825 chairs, his expression of love and support for hundreds of children.

National CASA/GAL Association for Children CEO, Tara Lisa Perry, shares her thoughts on reunification.

Executive Director Janet Walden considers the lessons learned from her children about the importance of unconditional love, home, a soft place to land. For each and every child.

“The family is one of nature’s master pieces.” -George Santayana

Executive Director, Janet Walden reflects on the importance of celebrating the Reunification of families.

Last week, the world said goodbye to Eric Carle, a giant in children’s literature. Carle’s book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, sold more than 55 million copies around the world since it was published in 1969. The book, which is one of the best-selling of all times, has charmed generations of children, parents and grandparents with its beautiful illustrations and simple message of hope.

Executive Director Janet Walden shares her admiration for foster families and the important impact they have on the life of a child.

Today is CASA Volunteer's Day, and I am grateful for the continuing and life-changing impact made by CASAs.

There seems to be an overarching theme to philanthropic giving in the United States: where there is a need, people step up.

Executive Director Janet Walden reflects on how CASA Volunteers can Change a Child’s Story.

Did you know in Juvenile law, a guardian ad litem does not have to be an attorney? Staff Attorney/Advocate Supervisor, Kristin Lesutis shares the importance of a CASA Volunteer in this role.

Read below as Christie Ledlow-Hodges reflects on her ten years in child welfare and the things that inspire her the most.

Advocate Supervisor, Jason Hewett’s search for a ‘perfect CASA Volunteer’ may just lead to you!

Staff Attorney/Advocate Supervisor makes the case for CASA Volunteers as the appointed Guardians Ad Litem for children in Juvenile Court Dependency proceedings