To train and support community volunteers who advocate for abused or neglected children placed in foster care, upholding the children's rights while pursuing a safe and permanent home.
CASA - Court Appointed Special Advocates - is a nationwide organization that provides a volunteer advocate for children in the foster care system. Volunteer advocates are the voice representing the child's best interests in court and other public forums about the individual child. Advocates also form an ongoing relationship with the child. By getting to know the child individually, the advocate is better equipped to represent the child in all case-related matters. Often the CASA Advocate is the only consistent relationship the child has ever had.
CASA Advocates receive 35 hours of pre-service training, which includes understanding the dependency court process, the foster care system, and, most importantly, how to work with a child and be their voice. Upon completing training, the new advocate is assigned to an experienced and highly supportive CASA staff person known as an Advocate Supervisor. The Advocate Supervisor provides on-going support and training on all case-related matters.
I have been a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children since February of 2008. The work I've done with these children is by far some of the best I've done in my life. The training and support is stellar; this truly is a team effort. I have made a difference in the lives of the children I advocate for, a feeling unparalleled. Because of CASA, a high school senior got to go to her prom. Sometimes the difference is as simple as a dress. Other times the difference is monumental. CASA was instrumental in transitioning brothers from foster care to their new forever family where they are loved and nurtured. Because of CASA, children have at least one adult that speaks on their behalf and provides them hope for a better future. I am a better person because of the work I've done with CASA and these children. Though it has been emotionally challenging at times, the rewards are great.