Posted by Peterson Apfelbach
Jim Hahn started with KIDS MATTER in 2008 as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program volunteer. His professional background includes more than 25 years in nonprofit fundraising and administration. He served as a national award-winning officer of the Greater Milwaukee Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and as a member of the Subject Matter Expert Corps charged with writing the international exam questions for the Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) credential. While pursuing his English degree at West Virginia University, Jim joined Alpha Phi Omega National Service Organization in 1983. Having served at all levels of the organization including on their national board of directors and as the National Marketing Director, today he chairs their efforts to expand into Canada. His experience in nonprofit service has afforded him tenures in addressing homelessness, healthcare advocacy, small business development, literacy, local historic preservation, as well as victims of child abuse and neglect.

Working with kids matter has been a Passion project for Jim. He started as a volunteer with them 12 years ago has been brought into their staff recently. His major role right now is searching for volunteers to be Court Appointed Special Advocates or CASA for short. their phrase for 2020 is to "change a kid's story." Court appointed special advocates are the voice looking out for the best interest of kids for safety and permanency as they enter and go through the process of the foster system. In some cases, the CASA may also be appointed the guardian ad litem for the child, but this does not always happen. Less than 50% of foster kids nation wide graduate from high school; however, in Milwuakee 100% of foster kids with a CASA have graduated.

There are several requirements for becoming a CASA. These include participation in a 30 hour training course to learn how to best evaluate, connect, and communicate with children and those involved in their lives. You must also be available to provide the court with your opinion at least every six months. The funding for the CASA program comes mostly from private donations although Kids Matter does receive funds from the state victim of crimes fund.