CASA Classrooms are transforming patients’ and families’ lives

CASA Mental Health’s newest program is like “winning the lottery ” for families and children.

Lynne’s* daughter recently attended a CASA Classroom at Fort Saskatchewan Elementary where she experienced “incredible growth.”

“We saw such incredible improvement in her confidence and social skills,” Lynne says. “She went from very much struggling to make friendships, particularly socializing in small and large groups, to being so much more confident and competent.”

“I’m so, so proud of the progress that she’s made. It couldn’t have been possible at all without CASA Classrooms.”

In the CASA Classrooms program – first launched in September 2023 – students receive individual and group therapy, psychiatric care, medication and schooling according to their individual need.

A team of mental health professionals, a specialized teacher and support staff provides the care.

Students remain in the program for approximately half the school year, followed by another half-year of transition support.

“By providing a mental health classroom at school, we are allowing children to access services where they spend every day,” says Lori Roe, CASA Classrooms Senior Manager. This aligns with CASA’s goal to provide services closer to kids and families and reduce barriers to access.

“Now they do have to come into our classroom in whatever school it is, but it’s something that works well for the kids, it also works well for the families because they don’t have to go somewhere for services – they’re already where their kids are anyways.”

Currently, CASA Classrooms have been established in Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan, Gibbons, Sturgeon County, Medicine Hat, Red Deer and Wetaskiwin. Up to 12 kids are in each classroom.

“What we’re finding is that because it’s a smaller classroom size, some of those kids who literally haven’t walked through a school door in two years are coming because it’s less intimidating,” says Roe.

Diane’s* granddaughter was experiencing behavioural issues at school, but since she began attending the program at J.A. Fife in Edmonton, there has been a “big change.”

“She doesn’t throw fits anymore as much as she did. She listens to what the other person has to say. Before it was just a big tantrum and now she’ll listen to reason.”

Her granddaughter is also now excited to go to school and learn.

“It was a struggle, a big struggle for me to get her to go to school. Now she’ll wake up and want to go to school, which is so wonderful. It’s such a big 180-degree difference,” says Diane.

Lynne says she is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to have her child go through the CASA Classrooms program.

“It was truly like winning the lottery, and if I had the chance to do it again, I would in a heartbeat. I can’t thank this amazing team enough for all the love, support and efforts with my daughter. You truly changed her life for the positive, thank you.”

CASA is launching more Classrooms in 2024 and 2025 so more parents and families don’t feel they need to win the lottery to access mental health services.

Learn more about CASA Classrooms at

*Names have been changed to protect patient privacy.

For A Child In Immediate Crisis

If your child is in physical danger or is at risk of harming themselves or someone else, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.

If your child is in crisis, dial the Edmonton distress line at 780-482-4357 for immediate assistance.

May 1-7 is Mental Health Week.

For thousands of families across Alberta, every week is Mental Health Week. Support CASA Mental Health and help empower our kids and families thrive.