Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children

Tri-Lakes Petroleum supports Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children, or CASA for Children in Gratiot County. The CASA Association recruits, trains, and supports volunteers to represent the best interest of abused and neglected children in the courtroom and other settings.

CASA volunteers:

  • Are appointed by judges
  • Advocate for abused and neglected children
  • Protect children from getting lost in the overburdened legal and social service system
  • Assure children don’t languish in inappropriate group or foster homes
  • Stay with each case until it is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home

For more information about becoming a CASA volunteer, or if you wish to donate to CASA, please contact Michelle Zombeck at (989) 463-1422 or


About CASA

Over the course of any year a number of children go through the child welfare system as a result of abuse or neglect in Gratiot County.  A system full of well-intentioned people trying their best to place children in what is hoped will be better circumstances.  But it is, after all, just a system -- an overtaxed one at that.  Too often a single child can move to three or five or 15 foster homes in merely a matter of a year or two.  Too often children languish for years without finding a stable home.  CASA's solution begins with a single volunteer.  The volunteer is trained to know what is in the child's best interests and to get those interests met by the system.

A CASA Volunteer spends more than twice the amount of time with their assigned child than a social services worker and more than 8 times more time than the child's court appointed attorney.  CASA Volunteers have a very high capacity for good decision making, strength in character, commitment and ability to speak in Court.  Their volunteer work is often very uncomfortable but they are committed to children.  A CASA Volunteer is matched with one child or family of children; spends timed with and gets to know that child over the course of their case; investigates the case by meeting regularly with foster parents, teachers, biological parents, therapists, and doctors; and, ultimately makes a recommendation to the Judge about what is best for the child.

In 2013 Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) had 14 volunteer Advocates in Gratiot County.  Those 14 Advocates served 44 children in the foster care system.  Each volunteer donated approximately 10-15 hours per month of their time to watch over children in the system and to advocate on their behalf until the children were placed in a safe, permanent home.  With over 2,500 hours spent in 2013, we still were not able to reach all of the children in foster care.  In 2014 our goal is to reach more children, but we need help.  To find out how you can help ensure that every child in foster care has a voice, please contact Michelle Zombeck at (989) 463-1422 or