“CASA” stands for “Court Appointed Special Advocate”. CASA workers are volunteers who give their time in order to be a “special advocate” for abused and neglected children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect.
The CASA Association is nationwide (49 states). Volunteers undergo screening and training in order to advocate for the children.
Many people don’t realize that the CASA movement began in 1977. A Seattle Judge conceived of the idea.
CASA volunteers give of their time, meeting with the children and getting to know them. CASA workers change lives with their involvement. As one former foster child puts in, “Everyone else in the system… did their jobs but nobody else tried to get to know me as a person.” (Jackie’s Story, changed youth, CASA website).
The CASA volunteer is an important person in the courtroom, because he or she has a lot of useful information about the child’s desires and needs. Judges have very little time to make important decisions which will have major impact on a child’s life. These Judges rely on the insight of CASA volunteers to assist them in information-gathering.
Unfortunately, there are not enough CASA volunteers to go around. Many children could benefit from the careful attention of a CASA worker, but are not able to have one assigned to them.
You can learn more about CASA and volunteer opportunities at the CASA website.