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About CASA

What is CASA?

All children have a right to a home with loving people to care for them, but each year in the 17th Judicial District, more than twelve hundred children are abused, neglected, or abandoned by their families. Eventually, they end up in court. Their only “crime” is that they have been victims. It is up to a judge to decide their future.

  • Should they remain in foster care?
  • Should they be reunited with parents or be adopted? Sometimes children become a victim for a second time; lost in an overburdened child welfare system that cannot pay close enough attention to each child whose life is in its hands.
  • Sometimes a child can remain adrift in foster care for years. These children are of all ages, races, and economic groups. That’s where CASA comes in.

 

CASA volunteers are Court Appointed Special Advocates for children. They are trained mmunity volunteers appointed by a judge to speak up in court for abused and neglected children.

How effective have CASA programs been?

Recent studies have shown that children who have a CASA volunteer spend less time in foster care, receive better services while in foster care and are less likely to re-enter the child welfare system

What is the CASA volunteer’s role?

CASA is an acronym for Court Appointed Special Advocate. CASA volunteers are ordinary citizens. They work alongside attorneys and caseworkers as appointed officers of the court after they have completed training. Each volunteer is assigned a case and gather information about the child and his or her individual needs. CASA volunteers are not attorneys; they do work with the Attorney ad Litem who has been appointed to represent the child’s legal interests. These attorneys appreciate the assistance and information that is provided to them during the course of CASA’s investigation. This data includes:

  • Interviewing parents, relatives, neighbors, friends, DHS caseworker, foster parents, school faculty, doctors, counselors, and law enforcement officers.
  • Documentation of facts and professional opinions that assist in determining the child’s personal needs.
  • Meetings with professional opinions that assist in determining the child’s needs are being appropriately met.
  • Preparing a written report, with recommendations, for the judge.
  • Appearing at court hearings prepared to testify, if necessary.