Children in foster care who have a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer are more likely to succeed in school and learn resilience. And they’re half as likely to re-enter the foster care system. As a volunteer, you can make all the difference for a child who has experienced abuse or neglect in your community. Get involved. Change a child’s story.
Through Kids Matter CASA, community volunteers are trained to be advocates for children in foster or kinship care. Appointed by the Children’s Court judges to one case at a time, a CASA volunteer monitors the child’s situation, identifies community resources and participates in the court process to accomplish the goal of moving the child to permanency.
The CASA volunteer gathers information by talking to the child, family, case managers, teachers, attorneys and others who are involved in the child’s life. A written recommendation is made in a court report that is prepared for each court hearing. This court report is independent of the case manager’s and attorney’s reports and is often read first by the judge. A CASA volunteer will remain on a case until permanency is reached. On the average, the length of a case is a year.
Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteers are required to go through a 30+ hour training over several sessions. This training covers the roles and responsibilities of a CASA volunteer, the history and laws of child abuse, cultural awareness and understanding families and children. A court observation of child abuse and neglect hearings is also required. At the end of the training, a Children’s Court Judge formally swears in the CASA volunteers.