WHAT IS A C.A.S.A.?
What is a CASA? A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is a trained volunteer who is appointed by the judge to represent the best interests of a child/youth currently under the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Dependency court.
What is the CASA Volunteer’s Role? A CASA volunteer provides a judge with recommendations that help the court make decisions about that child’s or youth’s future. Each case is as unique as the youth involved.
How Does a CASA Volunteer Gather Information? To prepare a court report, the CASA volunteer talks with the child or youth, parents, family members, social workers, school officials, health providers, and others who may be involved in the youth’s life. The CASA volunteer also reviews all records pertaining to the child, i.e. school, medical, caseworker reports and other documents as necessary.
Is There a "Typical" CASA Volunteer? CASA volunteers come from all walks of life, with a variety of professional, educational and ethnic backgrounds. Aside from their CASA volunteer work, 85% are employed in regular full-time jobs. 2/3 of the volunteers nationwide are women, 1/3 are men.
How Much Time Does it Require? A CASA volunteer usually spends a minimum of 10-15 hours per month on their assigned case.
How Does a CASA Volunteer Differ from a Social Service Caseworker? Social Workers are generally employed by state or county governments. They sometimes work on as many as 40 cases or more at a time, therefore they are not always able to have an individual understanding of each youth on their caseload. The CASA worker is a volunteer with more time and works with only 1 or 2 youth at a time. The CASA Volunteer does not replace a social worker on a case; he or she is an independent appointee of the court.
How Does the Role of a CASA Volunteer Differ from an Attorney? The CASA volunteer does not provide legal representation in the courtroom. That is the role of the attorney.
Do Lawyers, Judges and Social Caseworkers Support CASA? Yes. Juvenile and Family Court Judges implement the CASA program in all of their courtrooms and appoint the volunteers.
How many CASA Programs are There? There are now more than 1,000 CASA programs in all 50 states, with more than 70,000 volunteers. In California there are currently 46 programs.
Are there Any Other Agencies or Groups That Provide the Same Service? No. There are other child advocacy organizations, but CASA is the only program where volunteers are appointed by the court to have the specific responsibility of looking after the child’s best interest.
To serve as a Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteer, working independently to monitor, mentor, and advocate on behalf of youth who are victims of abuse and neglect and currently in the San Bernardino County foster care system.