Harvest Fest spaghetti dinner to benefit CASA

Front Range CASA will be having a spaghetti dinner fundraiser on Oct. 6 at Harvest Festival. The dinner will be held at the Conrad Moose from 5-7 p.m. The Pondera Chapter of Thrivent  for Lutherans will be providing matching funds.

Front Range CASA is funded through grants, donations and fundraising. For the past three years, Front Range CASA has received grants from the National CASA, however, this year funding to National CASA was cut by 68 percent, resulting in no grant money for the program.

National CASA is funded through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The two houses of Congress could not agree on which version of the VAWA to pass, resulting in deadlock.

Normally the national grant money provides one-third to one-half of Front Range CASA’s budget. This year the program got nothing.

The Montana Supreme court provides approximately $12,000 per year to assist the local programs. With an annual budget of $60,000, this leaves a huge deficit for the program to replace. Currently the program has enough funds to last six months.

Each abused and neglected child in the court system is required to have a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) or a GAL (Guardian ad Litem) to be the voice for the child.

If Front Range CASA cannot find the funds to continue, a court appointed attorney will be assigned to represent the child. The attorney is paid $60 per hour, while the CASA volunteers work for free.

Front Range CASA has seen a drastic increase in the number of abused and neglected children in the 9th Judicial District.

In 2009, Front Range CASA served 23 children; in 2010, 15 children; in 2011, 41 children; and so far this year 32 children have had a volunteer advocate.

The spaghetti dinner is one way to help raise some money for the program and with the support from Thrivent; it is a great opportunity to help the less fortunate children in the area.

Editor's note: If you would like additional information, please contact Executive Director Kiersta Sullivan at (406) 576-7041 or email Front Range CASA/GAL at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .