Every year more than half a million abused and neglected children are in need of safe, permanent, nurturing homes. Too many spend years moving from one temporary home to another. They have no family to call their own. They are more likely than other children to face homelessness, unemployment, even prison as adults. That’s where CASA steps in. Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) was created in 1977 to make sure the abuse and neglect these children suffered at home doesn’t continue as abuse and neglect at the hands of the system. As trained advocates, CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to be a voice for these children in court. The result is they are placed into safe, loving homes where they can thrive. The volunteers spend on average 12 hours per month and one and a half years with the child, getting to know the child’s circumstances and evaluating the best opportunities for a permanent home. At the end of the case the Advocate makes a recommendation to the court to that effect.
Ordinary people doing extraordinary things
CASA volunteers are ordinary people who are committed to doing what is best for a child. Volunteers develop a supportive relationship with their assigned child and report to the court what they believe to be in best interest of the child. The CASA advocates for services to meet the child’s needs and represents to the court what the child wants. As a CASA volunteer, you will be able to work with confidence. All our volunteers are thoroughly trained in courtroom procedure, social services, the juvenile justice system, and the special needs of abused and neglected children. We welcome volunteers from all cultures, professions, and ethnic and educational backgrounds. We have a particular need for men and people of color.
John Brooks, CASA volunteer:
“I recognize that I’m giving something back. Often a social worker has more cases than he or she should. But since I have one case at a time, I can make that child the center of my universe. He knows he has at least one person who looks out for him, cares about him and his life. I fill a void in the child’s life. I am the link between where he was and where he wants to be. The judge listens to me because he knows I have the best interests of the child in mind. It’s a cool thing.”