In 1978, Family Advocates was founded by two foster families who saw the desperate need to keep children out of the foster care system. The Hogins and Murphys had both brought children into their homes that had experienced significant abuse. In order to “get ahead” of this generational issue, they formed Family Advocates and began a prevention program in Boise. This prevention program expanded over the years and, at the largest moment, provided funds for Home Visiting across the state of Idaho through subcontracts.
With a team of lobbyists and attorneys, the Executive Director of Family Advocates at the time, Diane Ingersoll, helped outline the CASA Program for the state of Idaho in the mid-80s. The first case was described as “the Wild West” where the judge and attorneys involved were shaping procedure during the arguments. Back then, the definition of “imminent danger” only included abuse and our case numbers reflected that because in 1989, our records indicate that we had 15 cases of abuse that a Guardian ad Litem was assigned to in the Fourth Judicial District. Through the periodic growth spurts, the inclusion of neglect in the definition of imminent danger, and the rise of meth and opioids, we saw dramatic increases in children coming into care. In fiscal year 2017, there were 710 children in the Fourth District removed from their home and referred to out-of-home placement.
Of course, Family Advocates has continued our prevention work and have seen numerous births and evolutions of programming over our 40 years. Our current structure reflects the professionalization of the National CASA Program and their standards, as well as the increase in services offered by the Department of Health & Welfare and Public Health Districts. Our organization has had the unique ability to stay relevant and mission-centric while being flexible to our community’s changing landscape and needs.
That is why, this year, we are highlighting our need for a stronger future through our 40 for 40 Campaign. Help us be strong in the next 40 years by participating in one of the following ways;
- Be an Ambassador—share our mission with 10-15 of your friends through a story tour in our office or your location of choice (contact Nick@familyadvocates.org for more information).
- Join our Giving Society—pledge $1,000 (or more!) a year for 5 years to help us hire another Advocate Coordinator in our CASA Program, a position that supports up to 30 volunteers and, therefore about 65 children per year! Contact Lindsay@familyadvocates.org for more information or go to our website and click “Give” today!
Thank you for being on this journey with us as Family Advocates continues to keep kids safe and families strong, all through brave volunteers.