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United Way announces grants for Howard County CASA, Healthy Families

United Way serving Howard and Tipton Counties’ Board of Directors has announced a $42,823 grant to help fund the CASA Program of Howard County, Inc. and an 84,000 grant for Healthy Families, a program through Family Service Association of Howard County.

Donations given through the Annual Fundraising Campaign, both individually and through workplace campaigns make these grants possible.

United Ways’ donors enable CASA volunteers to complete 30 hours of extensive hands on training and 12 hours of continual education every year so they can advocate for children in the court system with confidence.

“Every child needs consistency,” said Jenni Cassel, former CASA Board Member and volunteer. “They might have several foster families, DCS workers or be transferred to multiple schools but they only have one CASA volunteer. This grant enables CASA volunteers to be trained to know what to look for and how to be there for each child.”

CASA volunteers advocate for 59 percent of children in the court system by visiting and communicating with their child monthly, contacting adult mentors like teachers, therapists and medical providers to ensure the child is cared for appropriately, observing parental visits, making recommendations on behalf of the child through a court report as well as many other activities.

“We wish to thank our donors for making these grants possible and allowing us to serve our community’s most pressing needs,” said Libby O’Brien, United Way serving Howard and Tipton Counties Interim Executive Director. “This grant allows community members to be strong advocates for children in our court system, giving these children a voice they might not otherwise have.”

United Way also announced an $84,000 grant to help fund Healthy Families.

United Way’s donors help low-income families with children three and younger learn how to care for their children and connect them with resources to enable the family to succeed and provide a safe, nurturing home for their child. In 2018, 18 of the 24 families graduated from the three-year program, an increase from 72.58 percent in 2017 to 75 percent in 2018.

“Thank you for supporting the Healthy Families program,” said Tracy Martino, Family Service Association Executive Director. “This program serves many families, from first time teen parents to families with other children. Your contribution means that families have healthier babies, demonstrate better knowledge of parenting and child development, create positive family bonds, develop connections to community services, and have children who perform better in school.”

Healthy Families works with low-income families on a voluntary basis to promote healthy children through parent surveys and long-term home visiting. Healthy Families’ home visitors screen children for developmental delays, share child development information, and connect families with many other services.

“Ensuring our families in Howard County are given resources to allow their children to thrive is essential to the community’s future,” said Libby O’Brien, United Way serving Howard and Tipton Counties Interim Executive Director. “At United Way, we are proud to fight alongside FSA to prepare all children for kindergarten and beyond through a health, education and financial stability focus.”

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