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Pay It Forward: CASA – Judicial District 7

Ashley Chilcutt
"Committed to providing all abused, neglected, and/or abandoned children a voice in the court process and in the community."

BONNEVILLE COUNTY, Idaho (KXPI/KIFI) - April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. News anchor Todd Kunz found a place with volunteers who are stepping up to help kids in rough situations.

The Judicial District 7 CASA Program states on its website that it is, "committed to providing all abused, neglected, and/or abandoned children a voice in the court process and in the community." Kunz went to see how it functions, and talk with the people behind the scenes, and to Pay It Forward. 

"It's the kids in our community who needs someone there to speak up in their best interest," said Executive Director, Stacy McAlevy, with Court Appointed Special Advocates for children or CASA. The nonprofit's website goes on to read, "The CASA concept is based on the commitment that every child has a right to a safe and permanent home."

McAlevy has been with CASA for 26 years, and as the director for 20 years. She knows a thing or two about the program.

"If children can be re-unified, that's what's best for kids. If they can go into a safe home, but if they can't, we have amazing adoptive families in the community and family members who take these kids on and provide  a permanent, safe home. That's the goal," said McAlevy.

Here is how the program works according to McAlevy. When children are removed from their home or child welfare gets involved, the court appoints a CASA to be the best interest of the child. That CASA then does their own investigation, and makes recommendations in the best interest of the child throughout the case. They help with the child's educational needs, mental health needs, and all around well-being. They provide constant information to the courts, so the courts can make decisions in the best interest of children.

"We get a lot of good, positive support from the community," said McAlevy. It takes many committed volunteers, like Melanie Brown.

"I feel like we do make a difference in the kids' lives," said Brown. She has been with CASA since 2010 as a case manager and a volunteer. Kunz asked her what keeps her coming back? She quoted a former volunteer.

"Because people would be like, 'oh, I can't do that. I can't go into those homes. I can't deal with people like that. I can't deal with kids who are being abused.' And she'd say, 'then if not you, then who?' And these kids live through this every day. And so if you can't go in there and fight for these kids, then who can go in there and fight for those kids?" asked Brown.

Kim Murphy sits at the front desk. She started in March 2020. She is the volunteer coordinator. She got involved with CASA because her grandmother used to be a CASA volunteer in the Pocatello, Idaho area. Kunz asked her what keeps her coming back?

"I think the biggest thing is just the hope that we can provide to these families and these children. We really have the time to devout to getting to know the children, getting to know the family situation, and really figuring out what the family needs to do to reunify and advocating for those things," said Murphy.

"These are kids in our community. They need volunteers that are in their community advocating for them," said McAlevy.

Time to Pay It Forward.

"That's best scenario," said McAlevy, talking about outcomes involving children in homes.

"Are you Stacy?" asked a woman entering the lobby.

"I am," replied McAlevy.

"Stacy, I'm Cassie (Leatham ) with Mountain America Credit Union," replied the woman.

"Hi Cassie. Oh Hi. How are you?" asked McAlevy.

"Good. How are you?" replied Leatham.

"Good," said McAlevy.

"Good. I am here to Pay It Forward to you," said Leatham, pulling $500 out of an envelope.

"Wow! Thank you. This was planned?" asked McAlevy.

"Yep," said Leatham.

"This was not part of the deal," laughed McAlevy.

"A little bit. A little bit. So we just truly, truly appreciate everything you do for the children in our communities. So I'm hoping that that helps a little bit," said Leatham, referring to the cash.

"That is going to help. Thank you so much. That is amazing," said McAlevy.

"Yes. Thank you. Thank you for all you do," said Leatham.

"Thank you. We appreciate the support," said McAlevy.

"Yeah," said Leatham.

"Thank you," said McAlevy.

"Good," said Leatham.

CASA is always looking for volunteers or even board members. It is operated by a board of directors because it is a nonprofit. They also have pro bono attorneys. The organization does have a Facebook page and a website.

"Pay It Forward" stories air the second Wednesday of every month. If you know of a nonprofit organization or someone who deserves to be recognized for their contributions to the area, click on "News" then "Pay It Forward" under the menu stack at the top left of our homepage. Fill out the submission form, or send an email to news anchor Todd Kunz at

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Todd Kunz

Todd is an anchor for Local News 8.


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