What is a CASA Volunteer?
A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is a trained and dedicated volunteer of your local community who is appointed by a judge to represent the best interests and to be a voice for abused and neglected children in our local foster care system.
What is the role of a casa volunteer?
Once a CASA volunteer is assigned a case, essentially they become the eyes and ears for the court. The CASA volunteer investigates all the pieces of the puzzle, while trying to provide the court with a clear picture about the child and the child’s best interest.
How does a CASA volunteer investigate a case?
A CASA volunteer will work with all the parties of the case by conducting interviews of the family, counselors, schools, etc. They will document all facts, professional opinions, and written records; and maintain contact with all parties to ensure that the child’s needs are being met in a timely and appropriate manner. The volunteer will use all this information gathered and provide a report to the judge with their facts, concerns and recommendations that will serve in the best interest of the child.
How does the role of a CASA volunteer differ from an attorney?
The CASA volunteer does not provide legal representation. That is the role of the attorney. However, the CASA volunteer does provide crucial background information that assists attorneys in presenting their cases.
Is there a “typical” CASA volunteer?
Only in the regards that all our volunteers have the core desire to help a child in need, our volunteers consist of men, women, young and old, some are full time employees, retirees, business owners, students, employers, factory workers, and housewives. All come from various backgrounds with different strengths and perspectives, but with the same passion and dedication this program seeks.
How effective are CASA volunteers?
Research shows that children who have been assigned a CASA volunteer, tend to spend less time within the foster care system, than those who have not had a CASA volunteer. Judges have observed that CASA children also have better chances of finding permanent homes than non-CASA children.
How much time does it require?
A CASA volunteer usually spends an average of 10-15 hrs a month doing research, conducting interviews and meeting with their children. Although each case is unique, the time spent working the case is quite flexible.
Do other agencies or groups provide the same services?
No. Other child advocacy organizations exist, but CASA is the only program in which volunteers are appointed as officers of the court by the judge to represent a child’s best interest.
How Long Does a CASA Volunteer Remain Involved with a Case?
Our CASA program requires a minimum one-year commitment with the ultimate goal of the volunteer continuing until the case is permanently resolved and permanency has been achieved. That is because one of the primary benefits of the CASA program is that, unlike other court principals who often rotate cases, the CASA volunteer is a consistent figure in the proceedings and provides continuity for a child.
What children are assigned a CASA?
Children who are victims of abuse or neglect and for whom cases have been filed in the Juvenile Court are assigned a CASA.