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ABOUT NATIONAL CASA

 

ABOUT NATIONAL CASA

www.nationalcasa.org

Our parent organization-with which we affiliate. Visit that website for more information on CASA across the nation. Here are some snippets from that site.

The mission of the National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association, together with its state and local members, is to support and promote court-appointed volunteer advocacy so that every abused and neglected child can be safe, establish permanence and have the opportunity to thrive.

How Do CASA Volunteers Help Children?

CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to watch over and advocate for abused and neglected children, to make sure they don’t get lost in the overburdened legal and social service system or languish in inappropriate group or foster homes. Volunteers stay with each case until it is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. For many abused children, their CASA volunteer will be the one constant adult presence in their lives.

Independent research has demonstrated that children with a CASA volunteer are substantially less likely to spend time in long-term foster care and less likely to reenter care. Read more evidence of effectiveness.

Who Are CASA Volunteers?

Last year, nearly 75,000 CASA and guardian ad litem (GAL) volunteers helped 238,000 abused and neglected children find safe, permanent homes. CASA volunteers are everyday citizens who have undergone screening and training with their local CASA/GAL program.

Who Are the Children CASA Volunteers Help?

Judges appoint CASA volunteers to represent the best interests of children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. Each year, more than 600,000 children experience foster care in this country. Because there are not enough CASA volunteers to represent all of the children in care, judges typically assign CASA volunteers to their most difficult cases. Read the stories of young people whose lives were changed by the support of a CASA volunteer.

How Did the CASA Movement Begin?

In 1977, a Seattle juvenile court judge concerned about making drastic decisions with insufficient information conceived the idea of citizen volunteers speaking up for the best interests of abused and neglected children in the courtroom. From that first program has grown a network of more than 951 CASA and guardian ad litem programs that are recruiting, training and supporting volunteers in 49 states and the District of Columbia.

Read more about the history of the CASA movement. (Connection magazine, 1.82 MB PDF).

How Is National CASA Funded?

The primary source of National CASA's funding is the federal government, through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Additional support comes from Jewelers for Children, individuals and other private funders. Read more about National CASA's partners.

How Many CASA Programs Are There?

There are more than 950 CASA programs in 49 states recruiting, training and supporting volunteers to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children in the courtroom and other settings.

Volunteer Your Time to Change a Child's Life

Nobody longs for a safe and loving family more than a child in foster care. As a CASA volunteer, you are empowered by the courts to help make this dream a reality. You will not only bring positive change to the lives of these vulnerable children, but also their children and generations to come. And in doing so, you will enrich your life as well.

What Do CASA Volunteers Do?

CASA volunteers listen first. Then they act.

Volunteers get to know the child by talking with everyone in that child's life: parents and relatives, foster parents, teachers, medical professionals, attorneys, social workers and others. They use the information they gather to inform judges and others of what the child needs and what will be the best permanent home for them.

Who Can Be a Volunteer?

You do not have to be a lawyer or social worker to be a volunteer. We welcome people from all walks of life. We are simply looking for people who care about children and have common sense. As a volunteer, you will be thoroughly trained and well supported by professional staff to help you through each case.

You must pass a background check, participate in a 30-hour pre-service training course and agree to stay with a case until it is closed (a year and a half on average). Read more about the requirements and role of being a CASA volunteer.

Interested in helping children but not ready to commit to becoming a volunteer advocate? Learn about other volunteer opportunities. 

 

OUTCOMES

 

A child with a CASA/GAL volunteer is more likely to find a safe, permanent home:

  • More likely to be adopted (8, 9, 10, 11, 14)

  • Half as likely to re-enter foster care (8, 11, 14)

  • Substantially less likely to spend time in long-term foster care (14)

  • More likely to have a plan for permanency, especially children of color (17)

Children with CASA volunteers get more help while in the system...

  • More services are ordered for the children (1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14)

... and are more likely to have a consistent, responsible adult presence. (1, 2, 12)

  • Volunteers spend significantly more time with the child than a paid guardian ad litem. (2)

Children with CASA volunteers spend less time in foster care... (15, 16)

  • It is quite remarkable that children without CASA involvement are spending an average of
over eight months longer in care, compared to children having CASA involvement.” (15)

... and are less likely to be bounced home to home. (13, 15, 16)

  • CASA volunteers improve representation of children. (18)

  • Reduce the time needed by lawyers (12)

  • More likely than paid lawyers to file written reports (3, 4, 5)

  • For each of 9 duties, judges rated CASA/GAL volunteers more highly than attorneys (12)

  • Highly effective in having their recommendations adopted by the court (1)

Children with CASA volunteers do better in school... (13)

  • More likely to pass all courses

  • Less likely to have poor conduct in school

  • Less likely to be expelled

... and score better on nine protective factors (13)

  • Neighborhood resources, interested adults, sense of acceptance, controls against deviant behavior, models of conventional behavior, positive attitude towards the future, valuing achievement, ability to
work with others and ability to work out conflicts.

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