Why is CASA Needed?
When a child is removed from their home due to abuse or neglect, many people enter their lives - case workers, judges and lawyers. But at the center of the whole foster care system is a child, a child whose future outcomes will be determined by what happens during the months and years that they may spend in foster care and what actions are taken on their behalf. Hopefully, that child is assigned a CASA advocate, an individual whose sole purpose is to be the eyes and ears of the family court judge, who writes reports and makes recommendations based on observations and interactions with the child and their family.
By speaking for the child, the CASA advocate ensures that the best services and resources are provided, not only to the child, but to the entire family, and that the child is either reunited with their family, adopted or placed with relatives as quickly as possible.
The CASA Solution
Our solution to this injustice begins with a single volunteer. The volunteer is a Court Appointed Special Advocate – a CASA volunteer. He or she is trained to understand the sensitive circumstances of a child living in foster care. The advocate is trained to listen to the child and all those involved in what can often be very complicated cases. An advocate is trained to report their observations and make recommendations to the family court judge.
CASA volunteers ensure that the best interests of our children are a priority and are met through well-researched, comprehensive court reports. They make recommendations that affect the medical, educational and psychological well-being of each child. They are a consistent voice that speaks only on the child’s behalf. We are proud to say that family court judges order these recommendations an impressive 93% of the time. Most importantly, it demonstrates the value our advocates bring to each case and each child.
Volunteers spend an average of eight to 10 hours per month working on their case, either visiting their child, or others involved in the case, going to court proceedings or writing court reports. They remain on a case until a permanent home is established - typically 18 to 24 months. Often, the CASA volunteer is the only consistent adult in the child’s life who is there to champion their needs, rights and be their voice in court.