A Court Appointed Special Advocate (a CASA) is a trained community volunteer appointed by a judge to speak up for the best interests of an abused or neglected child involved in a juvenile court proceeding.
Why have CASA programs?
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) programs provide an innovative approach to a very urgent crisis. CASA programs screen, train and support volunteers to provide individualized advocacy for these innocent victims. The CASA volunteer provides an independent source of information for the judge who must decide their future.
What does a CASA do?
CASA volunteers serve as the eyes and ears of the court. They interview anyone who may be able to shed light on the child’s needs—the child, parents, family members, medical professionals, therapists, social workers, school officials and neighbors. The CASA then appears in court to make recommendations to the judge about what is in the child’s best interest, based on this assessment. The CASA remains involved in the case until the child is placed in a safe, stable and permanent home.
How much time does it require to be a CASA?
Each case is different. A CASA volunteer usually spends about 10-15 hours conducting research and interviews prior to the first court appearance. Once initiated into the system, volunteers work about 10 hours a month on each case.