CASA trains community volunteers from all backgrounds who are passionate about helping children overcome abuse and neglect. Without consistency or the protection of their parents, abused and neglected children become the most helpless crime victims. They then are subjected to the harsh reality of the court system and foster care, not knowing who to trust or what their future holds.
Unlike an attorney, who must advocate for their client’s wishes, a CASA volunteer is the only person in the courtroom entrusted to advocate for the best interest of the child. CASA supports the child by frequently visiting with him or her, and passionately advocating for resources, permanency, safety, and love. By speaking with all of the parties involved, CASA gets to know the child’s situation and is able to report observations, concerns, and recommendations to the judge based on the information gathered.
Although the child does have an attorney and a DHS worker on their side, they often carry very heavy caseloads, meaning no one child can be prioritized. CASA eliminates the possibility of a child falling through the cracks because each CASA is assigned to only one case and the child or children in that family.
It is estimated that children who suffer abuse and neglect are 53% more likely to become juvenile delinquents and 38% more likely to become violent criminals as adults (NCASAA, 2002). However, with the consistency and love a CASA provides, these children are less likely to languish in foster care and more likely to achieve a safe, permanent home quicker.