What Is A CASA Volunteer? | Child Safety Protection Month

Are you willing to spend a few hours a week to help a child who may otherwise be alone?

Karen White November 30, 2016
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Ask anyone what they know about foster care and most will tell you they think it is necessary, but that our current system is broken. Many people feel that too many kids are slipping through the cracks and lingering in foster care longer than necessary. Some are even forgotten completely until they age out of the system.

One way every person can help fight against this is to become a CASA. CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate. These volunteers play a HUGE role in many foster care situations. CASA’s advocate in the courtroom for the child. Not to be confused with the Guardian Ad Litem who is the child’s LEGAL representative, the CASA is a court appointed volunteer who advocates for the child and the families best interests.

Once a CASA volunteer is assigned to a child they will remain in contact with that specific child until they are either removed from the home and adoption is finalized or they are successfully re-united with their families. Since foster children often live in more than one home during their time in foster care, and sometimes enter in and out of the system, the CASA can sometimes be the only familiar face they see and grow to trust during this process. A CASA takes the time to get to know the child, know their family, their teachers and the situation they are faced with. They are a constant presence for the child during what may be a very difficult and emotional time. They can advocate for services and aid that the children may otherwise not receive.

Imagine if every child in the system was assigned one person who they could count on throughout the process?

According to casaforchildren.org more than 600,000 children each year become part of the foster care system in the US alone. Unfortunately there are not enough CASA volunteers for every child to be appointed a representative, so the ‘worst case’ scenarios usually are the only ones that are assigned a CASA.

Imagine if every child in the system was assigned one person who they could count on throughout the process? Statistics from casaforchildren.org  tell us that children assigned to CASA’s do better in school, spend less overall time in foster care and are more likely to find a safe home.

And becoming a CASA is easy!  Simply got to http://www.casaforchildren.org/ and click on Volunteer. You can search for organizations in your area. All CASA’s are provided a minimum of 30 hours of training and supported throughout the process. Are you willing to spend a few hours a week to help a child who may otherwise be alone?

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Karen White

Karen White is the self-proclaimed leading authority on being "that mom." You know the one. The PTO Vice President, room mom, baseball team mom, AND leader of well-behaved kids (OK, the well-behaved part may be stretching it . . . like really stretching . . .) When she isn’t threatening to tackle one of her boys on the ball field if they don’t run faster, or convincing her 4-year-old daughter that everything doesn’t HAVE to sparkle, she is also a wife and stay-at-home mom of three. One of the three happens to have been adopted, but good luck figuring out which one it is, since they all have pasty white skin, blond hair, and blue eyes.

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