CASAs (Court Appointed Special Advocates) are volunteers and ordinary citizens, like you, doing extraordinary work. CASA volunteers establish stable relationships with foster children, getting to know their unique history and making informed recommendations to the courts.
CASAs are trained child advoctes appointed by a judge of the juvenile court to represent the best interests of children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect or abandonment.
During the time the child remains in the juvenile court system, the CASA investigates the child's circumstances, provides factual information, and makes recommendations to the court while becoming a friend, a support system and a lifelong connection for a foster child.
CASAs work with the CASA program staff to further the child's welfare. The ultimate goal is to move the child out of temporary placement into a safe, permanent home. Children deserve to be treated as individuals with a right to be heard. The CASA has the opportunity to enhance the decision-making process in Juvenile Court through the development of a significant relationship with a child.
A volunteer can bring a sense of individuality of each child into the courtroom by representing that child's unique needs and desires.
The primary role of a Court Appointed Special Advocate is to:
Investigate the needs of the child by reading the child’s entire welfare file, connecting with teachers, foster parents, social workers, doctors, mental health professionals, relatives, parents, attorneys- everyone involved in the child’s life throughout the case.
Facilitate social services and community resources to meet the needs of the child.
Advocate for the child’s needs to be met promptly and thoroughly. Write thorough, accurate court reports.
Monitor to ensure team members follow though on meeting the child’s needs.
Be a trusted support for the child. In the sea of ever-changing faces, the CASA volunteer is the one person the child knows will keep coming back - each and every week. Volunteers take children to the beach, to the library, the park and just spend time getting to know the child and understanding the child’s hopes, fears and dreams.
Trainings are held quarterly. Please check our website www.sonomacasa.org, call or e-mail the program to find out the dates of our next training session.
About Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Sonoma County
365 Casa Manana Rd., Santa Rosa, CA 95409, US
The Sonoma County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Program is committed to serving abused and neglected children coming before the Juvenile Court for protection and rehabilitation services. The purpose of the CASA program is to humanize the complex child welfare system for the child victim by providing a trained volunteer who will act as a consistent role model, advocate, and potential life connection.
l. To reduce the trauma of children in the Juvenile Court dependency system by matching a child with a trained CASA volunteer who will offer support through a long term consistent relationship. The volunteer will explore and recommend resources and options available for the child and offer the child guidance and information in understanding and dealing with the complex, unfamiliar court, and child welfare systems.
2. To advocate vigorously for the rights of abused and neglected children in Sonoma County ensuring that all "reasonable efforts" have been made for a child at every stage of the court dependency process.
3. To improve the quality of information presented to the Juvenile Court on behalf of the child by informing the court of the child's adjustment and state of mind and by gathering relevant information and making appropriate case recommendations to be included in a written court report.
4. To develop and implement a sound program management plan including a comprehensive plan for the recruitment, retention, supervision, and training of a competent volunteer corps ethnically, racially, and linguistically representative of the population to be served.