English comes home - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

English comes home

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Posted: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 12:30 am

COEUR d'ALENE - Dan English sat in his new office on Fourth Street Tuesday and smiled.

Animal characters from children's book author Richard Scarry's "Busytown" careen around the fabric of a colorful quilt adorning one of the office's walls. The blanket was crafted years ago, by English's wife.

The former Kootenai County Clerk is the new executive director of North Idaho CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), a job he stepped into in mid-October.

"This is all a bit of a coming home for me," English said.

Long before English's 15-year stint as county clerk began in 1995, he was doing the kind of work CASA is all about.

CASA provides volunteer court advocacy for children who have been removed from their homes because their parents or other legal guardians have abandoned, neglected or abused them. Appointed by a judge, a CASA volunteer investigates, reports and speaks on behalf of a child in court.

Just out of college, English worked for a time as a detective in the sheriff's juvenile division. Then, later in the '70s, he started Youth in Christ, a local Kootenai County nonprofit that served troubled teens, providing counseling and a volunteer sheltering program. In 1985, English started Anchor House-Idaho Youth Ranch, putting the program together from the ground up, developing the board and contracting with the state.

During those years, English earned a master's degree from Gonzaga and has been a licensed professional counselor for 20 years.

He served on the Coeur d'Alene School District Board of Trustees for five years, and then on the Coeur d'Alene City Council. While on the council, in 1995, he was appointed to the county clerk's position, which he held until January 2011.

"That all has been great background for my role here," English said.

For the last 18 months, he and his wife have been the live-in caretakers and resident managers of Twin Lakes Friends Camp, a ministry of Anthem Friends Church in Hayden. It's a beautiful place, English said, somewhere he imagined himself staying until he retires.

Then he saw the employment ad for the CASA job.

"Wow, I thought, that is really me," English said. "If I was up for one more full-time adventure - back in the saddle with kids and nonprofits - this is it."

With his wife's blessing, English applied.

When he was offered the position, English was the Democratic candidate for a District 2 seat in the Idaho House, the seat now held by Phil Hart.

"I'm perfectly happy and content with the outcome of the election. I'm glad I did it, but I'm really glad I can focus 100 percent on this," English said.

CASA is court-mandated, and receives grant funding, but relies heavily on donations in order to stay operational. Funds are needed to recruit, train and supervise volunteer advocates. The agency serves about 750 children annually in the state's five northern counties. In 2011, they helped 520 kids in Kootenai County.

English said they have 90 to 100 volunteer advocates throughout North Idaho.

"They're the heart of the program," he said.

While the agency's funding is always a concern, English said the most pressing need at this time is for more volunteer advocates. He encourages anyone who has ever entertained the idea of becoming a CASA volunteer, to step up. A new training class will be starting after the holidays, English said, so this is a good time to call the CASA office and get set up for the training.

"If you're looking for an opportunity to volunteer in a really meaningful way, this is really it," English said.

Contact North Idaho CASA at (208) 667-9165

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  • Caring4CDA posted at 8:51 am on Thu, Nov 15, 2012.

    Caring4CDA Posts: 16

    Why the change up at CASA? Where did the previous director go?

  • curiouser posted at 10:11 pm on Wed, Nov 14, 2012.

    curiouser Posts: 78

    Furthermore, I am a democrat AND a born again Christian. My faith DOES inform my politics, and on the basis of the teachings to care for the poor, the fatherless, the widows, and the "sojourners in our midst" I choose the Democrats as the party more in line with my faith.

    Political parties and philosophies are never going to line up with all of the teachings we find in the Bible. Nor should they. People of faith will choose on the basis of their own conscience which way to lean politically. You can no more say "all Christians are Republican" than you can say "all Republicans are Christian."

  • curiouser posted at 10:00 pm on Wed, Nov 14, 2012.

    curiouser Posts: 78

    Local: there is a huge gap between "calling for the death of children" and respecting the right of a woman to choose.

  • local res posted at 8:09 pm on Wed, Nov 14, 2012.

    local res Posts: 1164

    Mr. English I have a question. How does a person start an organization called "Youth for Christ" and be a democrat? As the democrat party platform calls for the death of unborn children.

  • concernedcitizen posted at 6:52 pm on Wed, Nov 14, 2012.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530

    Uh randy, could that be because it was the end of his term and it would be found out anyway? He might as well come clean.


    Yes he was a fine county clerk for the status quo.

  • ancientemplar posted at 3:47 pm on Wed, Nov 14, 2012.

    ancientemplar Posts: 1150

    He has shown , through his last position, that he isn't strong enough to maintain the integrity of the agency and the mandates set forth to protect the children. as well as lead and completely, thoroughly, train and supervise a more competent staff and volunteers.

  • salutations posted at 12:56 pm on Wed, Nov 14, 2012.

    salutations Posts: 4

    The Board of Directors should have the financial oversight. We should hope pray that Mr. English is strong enough to maintain the integrity of the agency and the mandates set forth to protect the children. as well as lead and completely, thoroughly, train and supervise a more competent staff and volunteers.

  • MixMart posted at 9:52 am on Wed, Nov 14, 2012.

    MixMart Posts: 1059

    Dan was a fine county clerk. Unlike someone else I can think of he was very responsible in that he never subjected the public to hundreds of thousands of dollars in liability in justifiable lawsuits from employees, never wasted money filing frivolous lawsuits against his boss because he didn't like the orders he received, never went to work so hungover he would sit at his desk half passed out and never drove a cop car around town pie eyed drunk. I hope Dan does well at CASA. They do good work.

  • ancientemplar posted at 8:34 am on Wed, Nov 14, 2012.

    ancientemplar Posts: 1150

    Organization is fine but I hope they don't give him any financial oversight authority.

  • mister d posted at 7:29 am on Wed, Nov 14, 2012.

    mister d Posts: 1531

    Excellent organization. I have worked with many quality CASA workers over the years. Maybe instead of the aemchair quarterbacks spouting off the comments, they should share their expertise with the kids and volunteer. Good luck Dan.

  • concernedcitizen posted at 6:51 am on Wed, Nov 14, 2012.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530

    Didn't CASA have someone cooking the books there a few years ago? Nice to see they have tightened the ship. lol

  • Will Penny posted at 6:38 am on Wed, Nov 14, 2012.

    Will Penny Posts: 260

    Lets also hope there are no elections down there.

  • voxpop posted at 6:08 am on Wed, Nov 14, 2012.

    voxpop Posts: 738

    Hopefully there won't be any financial book juggling by supervised employees possible in this job, like the last one. English should never again be in a position to allow embezzlement of taxpayer funds. Nice guy or not he appears to be an incompetent manager.

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