Cass County CASA Program Director Announces Retirement
January 17, 2017, Cassopolis, Michigan – James Ward, Program Director of Cass County CASA has announced his retirement for June 2017.
Cass County CASA is a non-profit organization established in CASS County in 1995 by the Honorable Susan L. Dobrich. CASA is an acronym for Court Appointed Special Advocates. A CASA provides a unique one-on-one relationship with youth that are in foster care. They volunteer their time to make sure their assigned child has a safe permanent home, has an opportunity to thrive, and, most importantly, they act as a voice for abused and neglected children while in the court system.
For the past eight years, Jim Ward has been building the awareness of CASA throughout Cass County. He holds many successes during his reign including the CASA KIN (Kids In Need) Program. This program, underwritten by the McLoughlin Family Foundation, supports all foster children in Cass County with goods and services that help them grow into young adults, provide them with well-deserved recreation, entertainment, and educational support, contributing to their emotional growth and self-esteem.
Another of Jim’s successes is the financial stability of the program. He increased donors and resources available to both the organization and youth in foster care. In 2008 when he became Director, Cass County CASA relied on local, state, and federal funds to support 70% of its budget. Today, with those funds drastically reduced the program consistently generates over 60% of a growing budget from the private and commercial sector. “Year to year, I have no doubt we are the best funded CASA program in the state, thanks to the wonderful residents of Cass County,” stated Jim.
The biggest achievement Jim has made may be the increase of CASA volunteer advocates and children served. When he first started in 2008 there were only 9 active CASA volunteers. Today, there are 22 with 6 more in training. Jim personally hired and trained 36 advocates in those 8 years. In 2008 CASA served 20 foster children. In 2016, approximately 60 foster kids were lucky enough to have a CASA.” Jim, and his wife Laurel, have been our best supporters and our best ambassadors throughout the county and the state of Michigan. We will miss his leadership,” stated, Denise Wierman, President, Cass County CASA Board.
The Board of Directors of Cass County CASA is currently searching for a new Program Director. If you are interested in this position, please submit your resume by March 1, 2016 to: CASA Director Search, 26887 Nubour Road, Dowagiac, MI 49047 or visit the website at www.casscocasa.org.