What is a CASA?

 

 

A CASA is a :

 

Friend of the Court:
The CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate)is appointed by a judge to provide the court with background information to aid in making decisions in the best interests of abused and neglected children. The CASA's goal is to ensure that children are placed in safe, permanent homes in a timely manner and receive all appropriate services while under the court's jurisdiction.

 

Information Gatherer: 
The CASA reviews records & r
eally gets to know the child in need in order to best speak on their behalf. They talk to key individuals in the child's life (teachers, therapists, foster parents, etc.) to determine what is in the child's best interest.

The CASA shares this information with the child's social worker and attorney and then submits a detailed report to the Court with recommendations for the child.

 

Independent Advocate: 
The CASA represents what is in the child's best interest rather than the child's wishes. CASAs also advocate for the child's needs in other areas of the child's life, ensuring that the child is receiving needed educational, mental health, medical and social/recreational services.

 

Ordinary Citizen: CASAs are carefully screened and trained adult volunteers, supervised by professional staff members. Volunteers come from all walks of life. They must be at least 21 years of age.

 

 

A CASA is NOT:

 

Social Worker:
The CASA supplements, but does not replace the work of the social worker assigned to the child's case. The social worker is the manager of the child's case and, as such, is the primary decision-maker in providing services to the child. 

 

Attorney: 
The CASA volunteer does not provide legal representation for the child.   

 

Therapist:   
The CASA does not provide counseling or mental health services to the child or family members. The CASA may encourage the child to express his or her needs in order to report those needs to the court and to social services. 

 

Big Brother or a Big Sister: 
Unlike a Big Brother or Big Sister who often remains involved with a child until the child reaches adulthood, the CASA's involvement is time-limited. The CASA has a job to perform and once the goal of ensuring that the child is placed in a safe, permanent home is achieved and the case is closed by the court, the CASA's job is complete.

 

Foster Parent: 
CASA volunteers do not, under any circumstances, provide shelter for their assigned children.