Yankton Medical Clinic Donation Gives Voice to Abused Children in Court
March 23, 2017 at 8:31 AM
When the physicians of Yankton Medical Clinic, P.C. met to determine their first recipient of support funds in 2017 the verdict was clear to advocate for abused children navigating the court system. A $5,000 gift from the clinic was presented to Southeast CASA, which stands for "Court Appointed Special Advocates." CASA trains qualified adults in Yankton, Clay and Bon Homme counties to advocate in court for abused and neglected children, making sure they have a voice.
Executive Director of Southeast CASA, Sherri Rodgers-Conti called the gift a "true blessing" since it was not the result of any funding request she'd made. "To put this in perspective," she explained, "this unexpected $5000 gift will help us serve about two dozen children this year who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or severe neglect."
The National CASA organization, of which Southeast CASA became a full member in 2012, developed the program in 1977 and today harnesses the power of nearly 70,000 volunteers nationally, all committed to the rights of every child in the foster care and child welfare system. According to Rodgers-Conti, advocates give these children a voice in court, "so that the best interests of each child will be considered every step of the way."
Dr. Jill Sternquist, a board member of Southeast CASA, shared why the multi-specialty clinic physicians have a vested interest in supporting the organization. "When children have a CASA advocate, they do better in school, develop better socially, are more likely to graduate and importantly - less likely to continue the cycle of abuse," she stated. "That's a compelling story not only for us as physicians, but for our community and our region."
The CASA children may never know the donors who made their advocacy possible, but Rodgers-Conti says, "They will experience feelings of care and concern for their well-being. We thank Yankton Medical Clinic on behalf of the children who now have a chance at a brighter future through funds that will support training and case work management."
FRONT: Steve Wintz, SE CASA President; Sherri Rodgers-Conti, SE CASA Executive Director; Dr. Jill Sternquist, YMC OB/GYN and SE CASA Board Member; Dr. April Willman, YMC Pediatrician and Dr. Byron Nielsen, YMC Board President and Nephrologist
BACK: Carol Ebel, SE CASA Board Member; Crystal Gemar, SE CASA Case Manager; Dr. Jeremy Kudera, YMC Orthopedic Surgeon; and Dr. Amy Eichfeld, YMC OB/GYN