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The Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Program of Hampden County trains community volunteers to advocate for abused and neglected children in the court system. Volunteers provide judges with facts gained through investigation and ongoing committed relationships, allowing the court to make informed decisions in the best interests of the child.
The CASA Program of Hampden County recruits, screens, trains, and supervises community volunteers to be court-appointed Guardian as Litems for abused and neglected children. CASA volunteers are assigned to an abuse or neglect case by judges in Springfield and Holyoke Juvenile courts. CASAs conduct thorough research on the background of the case, reviewing documents, interviewing everyone involved, including the child. They make written reports to the court, recommending what they believe is in the best interest for the child, providing the judge with information that will help her make an informed decision. Moreover, CASA volunteers are instrumental in advocating that a child or family receives services that the court has ordered--services such as appropriate services while the court case is open including things like substance abuse counseling or special education testing. During the life of a case, CASA volunteeers will monitor every child's situation to make sure the child remains safe. Very often, our CASA volunteers are the only constant the child knows as she moves through the labyrinth of the child welfare system.