Advocates for Children

"All of these improvements are as a result of the Microsoft donations we've been able to take advantage of. The impact of those improvements is felt by all of the children who now have a productive CASA volunteer and case coordinator advocating for their best interests."

— Spokesperson for AFC

Software Donations Empower Volunteers for Abused and Neglected Children

Advocates for Children provides court-appointed special advocate (CASA) volunteers to help children in Colorado. CASAs are recruited, trained, and supervised by Advocates for Children staff to be a voice for abused and neglected children. These volunteers are appointed by the court to complete an independent investigation into the family of the child in need. They report back to the court with their detailed observations. They also make recommendations for services therapy and the permanent placement for these children. Advocates for Children is based in Aurora and has several satellite offices. 

Some of these locations are more than 100 miles away. Volunteers in these satellite offices could not access the headquarters' server for information documents and reports. These volunteers had to keep their own records. Documents were faxed emailed or sent via snail mail. When dealing with children's safety and lives, a quick turnaround time of information is crucial. When abuse or violence happens in a home, volunteers needed to be able to call emergency hearings to get immediate court response to protect the affected children. 

Advocates for Children could not rely on its database to have up-to-date statistics reports or volunteer information. Microsoft donations improved operations noticeably. The implementation of an Exchange server helped staff access information remotely and rapidly. And now with Microsoft Outlook, staff are able to better support volunteers at any time of day.

Running more efficiently, the organization was able to add more staff to support volunteers. In 2006, prior to the migration to an Exchange server, Advocates for Children served a combined number of 122 children. At the end of 2008 after the implementation of all IT upgrades, these numbers increased 34 percent to 163 children served.