Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)
|Motto||Lift up a child's voice AND I am for the child|
|Legal status||Non-profit organization|
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is a national association in the United States that supports and promotes court-appointed advocates for abused or neglected children in order to provide children with a safe and healthy environment in permanent homes.
In many jurisdictions, CASA are known as Guardians ad litem. In other jurisdictions, the CASA is a volunteer. In both cases, CASA's role is to gather information and make recommendations to the judge in the best interest of the child.
According to National CASA Association, there are more than 85,000 advocates serving in nearly 1,000 state and local program offices in the United States. Each year more than a quarter of a million children are assisted through CASA services.
In 1977, Seattle Superior Court Judge David Soukup was faced with making decisions on behalf of abused and neglected children with only the information provided by the state Child Protective Services. Soukup formulated the idea that volunteers could be dedicated to a case and speak for children's best interests. Fifty volunteers responded to his idea, which started a movement that provides better representation for abused and neglected children throughout the United States.
Since its founding, CASA programming has grown to cover 49 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Some state and local agencies receive government funding, while others do not. The National CASA agency relies on pass thru grants from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention as well as partnerships with organizations like Jewelers for Children. National CASA then passes grant funding to state and local agencies.
According to CASA, the strategic objectives of the organization are listed as follows:
- Every court in the United States recognizes that a CASA/GAL volunteer is essential for a successful outcome for children
- Our volunteer base reflects the diversity and cultural makeup of children in the system
- Every potential donor understands the importance of our mission, and places it at the top of their priority list
- Every government official at the local, state, tribal and federal level understands the far-reaching results a CASA/GAL volunteer can achieve, and places our work at the top of their agenda
- Every child can thrive in the safe embrace of a loving family
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) can be found in cities all over the United States. Different locations vary on their training process but all advocates are properly trained to assess a familial situation, a child's opinion, and adequately represent children in court. Typical training consists of 30 hours of pre-service training and 12 hours per year of continuing training.
- National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association Archived November 11, 1996, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Resources for CASA/GAL Programs".
- "CASA History".
- "What is the CASA Movement?". Retrieved August 11, 2010.
- "CASA History". Archived from the original on May 5, 2012.
- "Children in court".