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CASA Women’s Shelter Organizational History

CASA, Inc.  ( Committee Against Spouse Abuse ) is a private non-profit organization established to provide services to battered women and their children.

CASA came into being in 1980 in response to a demonstrated need in the community.  It began because a task force of concerned citizens volunteered their time and their own resources to start an agency that would provide services to victims of domestic violence.  Through these services, it was hoped that the cycle of spouse abuse could be broken and the children of abused and abusive parents would be prevented from one day becoming victims or abusers themselves.

The Junior League of Pine Bluff funded CASA in June of 1982 and the Women’s shelter officially opened in July of that year.  One staff member was hired and a handful of volunteers was furnished to the agency by the Junior League  CASA rented a small space consisting of five rooms and one bath from the Alcohol Treatment Center at 120 East 16th and immediately began offering food, shelter, security, and clothing to victims of domestic violence and their children.  In the infant days of the program, finances and a staff of one severely limited the number of women for whom services could be provided and also limited an effective outreach program concerning the services provided by the shelter. 

In November of 1984, due to the reputation of the program, increased services, and with funding from the First Presbyterian Church, CASA was able to purchase a facility.  The facility provided increased space ( four bedrooms and two full baths ), adequate office space, a play area for the children , and an attractive, “homelike” atmosphere.

In August of 1990 CASA was able to purchase a larger facility.  The building was formerly the YWCA of Pine Bluff.  This new building has made room much progress.  CASA now has its own large gym for activities, and gives the clients more privacy. 
In 1992 we started accepting older male children – up to the age of 17.  It is hard to tell a battered woman that she cannot come to the shelter because she has a teenage boy.  We are one of the very few shelters that accepts male teenagers. 
In 1994 the shelter was enlarged by 1200 square feet.  The UPS Foundation donated funds to add four additional bedrooms to the shelter .  The additional space is for families that need to stay longer than 30 days.  The Transitional Housing rooms are available for clients who need additional time for up to 24 months. 

How Do We Help?
We provide a temporary place for women and their battered children if they have no other place to go.

- We give battered women time to heal, rest, and consider their options.

- We care about battered women and suggest alternatives to the violence they live with.

- We help battered women understand about domestic violence.

- We understand that battered women feel powerless and try to help then regain control over their lives.

- We refer women to other agencies for help i.e. medical, legal, and social services.

All services are strictly confidential and provided only upon request of the woman. We do not respond to inquiries about women or share information about them without their permission.

CASA has provided shelter to 6,647 clients in the last 20 years. CASA Women’s Shelter Crisis Hotline sheets indicate that 47 victims had to be turned away because of lack of space.  These victims were referred to other shelters in the state of Arkansas. 

CAPACITY

Current Shelter Capacity –9 bedrooms  -  35 beds
New Shelter Capacity – 10 bedrooms – 40 beds and 20 roll-away beds = 60 bed capacity

CASA is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and also operates a 24 hour  hotline.  CASA provides shelter, support groups, legal advocacy, food, clothing, school supplies, advocacy, referrals, educational services, GED classes, domestic violence classes and domestic violence case management.