In May 1987, the Hamilton Junior Women's League voted to form a steering committee to assess the feasibility of starting a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program in Butler County and subsequently to develop and partially fund the program in conjunction with the Butler County Juvenile Court.  By November 1987, PARACHUTE: Special Advocates for Children of Butler County was duly incorporated by three initial trustees as a private, not for profit agency.  A full board of Trustees was seated and began meeting January 1988.  An Executive Director was hired in April 1988 and the first class of volunteer advocates trained in October 1988.



The name PARACHUTE was selected specifically for the imagery it evokes:  a parachute is a means of aiding a victim falling through space, giving that person some control in a potentially dangerous situation; a parachute is a means of delivering emergency supplies; a parachute is also used to slow down a racing vehicle.  The program PARACHUTE seeks to help abused, neglected and dependent children by giving them a voice in court, helping them to achieve support and stability in a situation over which they have no control.



PARACHUTE is part of the National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association, which trains community volunteers to work as advocates for abused, neglected or dependent children in the Juvenile Court system.  Volunteers are trained to investigate a child's circumstances by interviewing any and all parties relating to the child, i.e. parents, relatives, school personnel, case workers, attorneys, medical people, the child; and thereby provide information to the court to expedite safe, stable and permanent placement.  In Butler County, children going through the Juvenile Court process are generally assigned a Guardian Ad Litem attorney who looks after the child's legal interests.  Additionally, the child is assigned a case worker from Children Services who is mandated by law to do everything possible to make the family functional.  The PARACHUTE volunteer assigned to the child plays a very critical and unique role:  the volunteer becomes the child's voice in court, speaking exclusively for the best interests of the child.  The volunteer's goal is a safe, permanent, loving home for that child in the shortest possible time. We believe children deserve nothing less.