What does a CASA volunteer do?
- Explains the role of the CASA to every child for whom they are appointed and keeps the child informed about court proceedings.
- Visits the child monthly in his/her placement which is often the foster home but may be a group home or relative placement.
- Gathers independent information which is maintained confidentially about the child in order to make recommendations to the Court in the best interest of the child.
- Interviews the parents, guardians or caretakers and other individuals having information about the child.
- Reviews records relating to the family (particularly DFCS, medical, psychological, and educational records).
- Prepares a written report for each court hearing which provides the Judge with the child’s wishes, the CASA’s recommendations and information gathered to support those recommendations.
- Attends, actively participates and speaks on behalf of their appointed child(ren) in court hearings and other related meetings and may be called to testify in the court hearing to inform the court of changes in the child's situation.
- Identifies and recommends potential resources within the family and community to meet the child’s needs.
- Monitors provisions of the family’s court ordered case plan and court orders.
- Consults at least monthly with a CASA Advocacy Case Manager for support and guidance;
- Keeps an updated time and mileage log on CASA CPRS in regards to all contact and communication with the child and other parties to the case;
- Maintains focus on the child until permanency is achieved. Reunification with the child's birth parent(s) is our goal if and when possible!
Why is CASA so important?
Many professionals in the child welfare system; including attorneys, DFCS Case Managers and Judges, are often too overburdened to give thorough, detailed attention to each child who enters the child welfare system. A CASA volunteer has the time to focus solely on the child and their needs. Each CASA volunteer is only allowed to advocate on behalf of a maximum of three cases at a time.
How effective is CASA?
Research suggests that children who have been assigned CASA volunteers spend less time in court, less time within the foster care system and are more likely to find permanent homes than those who do not have CASA representation. The CASA is a consistent presence in the child's life providing them a VOICE in the juvenile court proceedings.
What is federal and state law concerning CASA?
Federal law requires that a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) or a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) or both be appointed in all cases of child abuse or neglect. Georgia law includes “court appointed special advocates” and/or attorneys as Guardians ad Litem for children in juvenile court deprivation proceedings.