Since its creation by a family court judge in Seattle, Court Appointed Special Advocates has become one of the most effective programs of its kind. Today there are almost 1,000 CASA programs around the country. It is a unique blend of private support, public need and the kind of people power that comes from 70,000 volunteers all committed to the rights of every child in the foster care and child welfare system.
Exactly what does a CASA volunteer do? CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in court and other settings. The primary responsibilities of a CASA volunteer are to:
Gather information: Review documents and records, interview the children, family members and professionals in their lives.
Document findings: Provide written reports at court hearings.
Appear in court: Advocate for the child's best interests and provide testimony when necessary.
Explain what is going on: Help the childunderstand the court proceedings.
"Be the glue": Seek cooperative solutions among individuals and organizations involved in the children's lives. As one volunteer said: Be the glue that connects the pieces in a complicated child welfare system.
Recommend services: Ensure that the children and their family are receiving appropriate services and advocate for those that are not immediately available. Bring concerns about the child's health, education, mental health, etc. to the appropriate professionals.
Monitor case plans and court orders: Check to see that plans are being followed and mandated review hearings are being held.
Keep the court informed: Update the court on developments with agencies and family members. Ensure that appropriate motions are filed on behalf of the child so the court knows about any changes in the child's situation.
What sort of support will I receive? You will be supported every step of the way. You will have opportunities for continuing education and have access to online resources provided by National CASA, including a resource library, national Facebook community and national conference.
How do I become a CASA volunteer? Start by requesting your volunteer application here or call the office at 615-382-5066 to request one: