Life Stories provides advocacy and support for abused and neglected children by advancing coordinated investigations, prosecution and victim services.
How We Began
In 1989, United Way of Weld County conducted a community needs assessment to identify critical issues in the community and discovered the community’s response to child abuse needed improvements – particularly in the delivery of victim services and coordination between agencies. To create solutions for these needs, United Way formed a Child Abuse Coalition. This coalition founded A Kid’s Place (later known as Life Stories: Child and Family Advocacy) in 1995 as Weld County’s child assessment center (now known as the Child Advocacy Center, or CAC). Initially, this program was part of United Way. In 1998, after the program had proven its effectiveness, it developed into an independent organization. All along, it served as a safe, child-focused, unbiased, culturally-appropriate environment for investigative forensic interviews of victims of child maltreatment. In 1997, the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Program of Weld County was founded to train community volunteers who are appointed by the court to advocate for safe, permanent homes for children involved in the Dependency and Neglect court system. In 2000, the CAC and CASA programs merged and are now both operated by Life Stories.
Who We Are Today
Currently, Life Stories has 11 members of the Board of Directors, employs 10 staff members, and has nearly 80 active volunteers in the CASA Program. Additionally, we work closely with a Multi-Disciplinary Team made up of local law enforcement agencies, the 19th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, Weld County Department of Human Services, mental health providers, and a medical provider. Together, we work to efficiently investigate and prosecute criminal cases of child abuse and neglect and provide advocacy & support for victims and their non-offending family members.
We went through a rebranding process in 2016 to better unite our programs. In January 2017, we introduced our new name, Life Stories: Child and Family Advocacy. We honor and value the stories that are shared in the CAC and with CASA volunteers and supervisors. By giving children a safe space to tell their story and the resources to overcome the trauma they faced, we hope all victims will become survivors and have a better future – in safe, permanent homes free from abuse and neglect.
In Fiscal Year 2015-16, Life Stories Child & Family Advocacy…
- Celebrated 20 years of providing services to abused and neglected children in Weld County.
- Had over 100 individuals volunteer over 7,000 hours of service.
- Hosted the 6th annual “Top Chef Northern Colorado” event, raising over $75,000.
- Initiated the 4th “Superhero Run,” a fun event for families, raising over $12,000.
- The Child Advocacy Center was re-accredited by the National Children’s Alliance in 2016, dedicated to providing comprehensive, coordinated and compassionate services to victims of child abuse.
- The CASA Program was re-accredited by the National CASA Association in 2015, recognizing the high quality of its work for abused and neglected children.
- The CASA Program recruited and trained 19 new CASA volunteers in 15-16, for a total of 74 CASA volunteers.
Where We Are Headed
In 2015-2016, we served over 500 Weld County youth. That number has increased each year since our founding. As the need for our services continues to grow, we intend to make improvements in order to reach more people and be better at what we do for them. In general, we would like to increase our impact in the community. This can be done by spreading awareness of our CASA Program and CAC as well as conducting trainings such as our Darkness to Light: Stewards of Children Program for community groups who want to learn more about preventing child abuse. We aim to recruit more CASA volunteers, increase our funding base of donors and sponsors, enhance our technological equipment, strengthen our development activities and increase support of fund-raising events, and improve our outreach by increasing our use of social media, our website, and other communication technologies. As always, the best interests of children will continue to be the heart of our work.
They first came to Life Stories at the ages of 5 and 10 after years of sexual abuse by their stepfather. In a safe and caring environment, for the first time, they were able to tell a trained forensic interviewer about the horrors they endured. It wasn’t easy, but...read more
Six year old, Emma, can tell lots of stories. How her Grandma makes the best chocolate chip cookies; How her baby brother loves to draw pictures in crayon—on his bedroom wall; How her uncle has started to come into her bedroom at night. Emma told these stories and...read more
Homeless, traumatized, and abused. That’s how Lindsay, Cade and Maria could be described when they first entered our CASA program. Their future was bleak. Lindsay would have rages for hours. Cade was withdrawn. Maria just wanted someone to love her. Their father...read more
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Gabrielle Arreola Brighton
Jeffrey J. Jiron