CASA Volunteers are Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) - a trained citizen who is appointed by a judge to represent the best interests of a child in court. Children helped by CASA volunteers are involved in the Family Court system because they have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect.
Have questions? Keep reading!
What is the role of a CASA Volunteer?
A CASA volunteer provides a judge with carefully researched background details about the child to help the court make a sound decision about that child's future. Each home placement case is as unique as the child involved. The CASA volunteer must determine if the best interest of the child is staying with his or her parents or guardians, being placed in foster care, or being freed for permanent adoption. The CASA volunteer makes a recommendation on placement to the judge and follows through on the case until it is permanently resolved. .
How do CASA Volunteers investigate a case?
To prepare a recommendation, the CASA volunteer talks with the child, parents, family members, social workers, school officials, health providers and others who are knowledgeable about the child's history. The CASA volunteer also reviews all records pertaining to the child: school, medical, caseworker reports, and other documents.
How are CASA Volunteers different from social service caseworkers?
Social workers generally are employed by state governments and sometimes work on as many as 60 to 90 cases at a time; thus they are frequently unable to conduct a comprehensive investigation of each case. The CASA volunteer has a smaller caseload (average of 1-2 cases) and more time to investigate a case. The CASA volunteer does not replace a social worker on a case; they are an independent appointee of the court. The CASA volunteer thoroughly examines a child's case, knows about various community resources and makes recommendations to the court independent of state agency restrictions.
Is there a "typical" CASA Volunteer?
CASA volunteers come from all walks of life and possess a variety of professional, educational, and ethnic backgrounds. There are more than 70,000 CASA volunteers nationally. Local programs vary in number of volunteers they utilize. Aside from their CASA volunteer work, 64 percent are employed in full or part-time jobs; the majority tend to be professionals with 58% being college or university graduates. The majority (82%) of the volunteers nationwide are women.
How are CASA Volunteers different from attorneys?
The CASA volunteer does not provide legal representation in the courtroom - that is the role of the attorney. However, the CASA volunteer does provide crucial background information that assists attorneys in presenting their cases. It is important to remember that CASA volunteers do not represent a child's wishes in court. Rather, they speak for the child's best interests.
How else can I help if I don't choose to be a CASA Volunteer?
There are so many ways to help us! We appreciate support through giving of your time, We appreciate all of your support, from time to contributions; you can even help us through shopping within the community or online!