INTRODUCTION Court-appointed special advocates are trained community volunteers appointed by juvenile judges to advocate for the best interests of youth who have been remanded into custody in the child welfare system due to abuse or neglect. With access to so much information, discernment is key. Court-appointed special advocates (CASA) must analyze visits to children, converse with many other parties (social workers, biological parents, foster parents, teachers, pediatricians, therapists, etc.) and prepare a reliable report for the court with the best recommendations. CASAs are unique figures in the field of care because they do not have a program. They focus only on children and young people. They have no ulterior motives. While the public prosecutor`s office and the public defence office naturally tend to recommend the reunification or deprivation of parental rights, the CASA take care of everything without giving an opinion on the subject. They look at it through the prism of what is best for the child. For more information, see: www.azcourts.gov/CASA If you feel like becoming a court-appointed special advocate (CASA) for foster children and youth, don`t hesitate. There is an urgent need for CASA in the health care system. Without you, there is one less child with one voice.
You could be the friend who constantly turns out to be their advocate. Providing a reliable report to the court is a primary responsibility of CASAs. As the voice of children and youth in foster care, CASAs make recommendations that can change a person`s life. This is not a responsibility to be taken lightly, but it is a responsibility for which CASAs are fully equipped. One of the most consistent people in the life of a child or teen in foster care is a court-appointed special advocate (CASA). CASAs are volunteers appointed to be the voice of a child, youth or group of siblings in court. While social workers, judges, and even foster families can change, a CASA can be a constant friend to a foster child or teen. It`s a relationship that can last a lifetime. CASAs need to look beyond the surface. For example, if a foster child says they don`t like a foster home because there are too many rules, CASA must interpret the actual situation.
Perhaps the structure and routine are foreign to the child, but things he urgently needs. CASA must ensure that it has fulfilled its duty of care in order to make good recommendations to the court. Dorina Goetz, who works as a CASA volunteer in Nevada, describes it this way: When a judge reads her report, she wants her to know beyond a shadow of a doubt, «This person did some research.» CASA is conducting additional research. They interview teachers, social workers, pediatricians, birth parents, foster parents and others. You have access to a variety of information, including some that is confidential, such as medical records. Then, knowing all about the children and the case, they make recommendations to the court on behalf of the children as to what would be best to do. A court-appointed special advocate (CASA) defends children and youth in foster care. In their volunteer role, ASACs collect all kinds of information from all parties involved in a nursing case. Each month, they spend time with the children and youth they represent. They build a relationship so that they can understand the child`s wishes for their future. Court-appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers are citizens appointed by addiction judges who are trained to investigate the situation of children who have been removed from their homes primarily due to abuse or neglect.
They become a voice for foster children and help protect their rights by advocating for their interest, safety and permanence, and acting as eyes and ears for the court. CASAs may have to make difficult decisions about what to recommend to the court. Wisdom and discernment are essential. When do you change the case plan for a child, youth or group of siblings? What do you recommend if a parent cannot physically care for their children? What is best for the child if reunion seems unlikely? No one can see the future, so it can be difficult to make these life-changing recommendations without knowing the outcome. But that`s the role of a CASA. Once assigned to a case, CASA remains involved until the case is closed. This can take anywhere from a few weeks to years. During this time, CASA builds life-changing relationships for children or youth in foster care, as well as with other stakeholders.
Since their sole purpose is to advocate for children, CASAs can build relationships with birth parents, foster parents, social workers, judges, teachers and others. The timelines for court-appointed special advocates vary slightly by state and case. CASA spend approximately two hours per week on CASA-related tasks. This can be like writing a report or preparing for a judicial review that takes place every six months. CASAs may spend time communicating with others involved in children`s lives, such as a social worker or pediatrician. Each month, the CASA also communicates with the children or adolescents they represent. For example, a CASA may go to the park with the child, teen or sibling group. You could go out for ice cream or paint together.
At each interaction, CASAs collect information in order to make informed recommendations to the court in the best interests of the child. Since CASAs make recommendations to the court about the future of a child, youth or sibling group in court, they must be courageous. CASAs conduct extensive research while preparing their report. You must be a courageous and confident voice for children. There is a common misconception that volunteer court-appointed special advocates (SAAs) are special or highly qualified individuals. The truth is that almost anyone can be a CASA volunteer! If you`re over 21, you`re probably qualified. All you need is a heart for children. CASAs build relationships by doing practical things. For example, if you`re willing to go to the park, bake a cake, or read books with a child, you could have a profound impact as a CASA. The time required and the method of CASA training also vary from state to state.
If you`re interested in becoming a CASA, be prepared to dive deep into training. The connections you make with mentors and other CASAs will equip and encourage you in your role. CASA/LAG volunteers are appointed by judges to work in the best interests of children. You will stay with each case until it is closed and the child is in a safe and permanent home. We care for children from birth to the age set by state law as a limit to how teens stay in foster care. The types of recommendations that a CFSA makes are enormous. This often goes beyond the narrow scope of an intervention plan. While a CASA makes recommendations to the court on how a child progresses in foster care, it also advocates for everyday needs, such as tutoring, counseling, health care, clothing, nutrition, etc.
The court-appointed special advocate (CASA) and guardian ad litem (GAL) advocate for the best interests of abused or neglected children. Volunteers work with child protection professionals, educators and service providers to ensure judges have the information they need to make the most informed decisions for each child. There are 939 state organizations and local programs in 49 states and the District of Columbia with 97,900 volunteers across the country. We need more volunteers. To join the movement, browse the map and connect to a local program. Once involved, your program will support you every step of the way. A court-appointed special advocate (CASA) is an official part of court proceedings and works with lawyers and social workers. By working on one or two cases at a time, the CASA volunteer can explore in depth the history of each assigned case. The volunteer talks to teens, parents, family members, neighbors, school officials, doctors, and others involved in the teen`s history who may have facts about the case.
The volunteer reviews all court facts regarding the case and the volunteer also reviews all court documents related to the case.