CASA – Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children
What is a CASA Volunteer?
CASA of Los Angeles improves the lives of children in the dependency system by pairing them with trained volunteer advocates, who take these five key actions:
CASA of Los Angeles
Nowhere in the nation is the problem greater than in Los Angeles County. The 2018 statistics revealed that there are 30,000 children under the jurisdiction of the Dependency Court who have been abused or neglected. One-third of these children are age 0-5. Infants and toddlers are the fastest growing group of abused children. CASA/LA provided one-on-one advocacy to 1,124 children in FY2018, in addition to 3,276 children with day-of-court assistance through Shelter Care.
Making a Difference One Child at a Time
CASA of Los Angeles organizes and seeks community volunteers to advocate for children who have experienced abuse and neglect. The goal is to provide every child in the welfare system to have an advocate and the opportunity to thrive.
CASA/LA helps to eliminate the feelings of abandonment and alienation that scar these young lives by providing compassion and generosity from caring adults. This can have an enormous impact on the development of children at all ages. CASA makes the critical connection of pairing one caring adult to one child in need. This can be the turning point in a life that has been disrupted. The most significant achievements happen every day. When an overlooked opportunity is discovered, an adult connection is provided that will help to keep a child safe and give her or him the opportunity to succeed in life.
The volunteers get to know the children and their circumstances and show them that someone cares. The advocates always seek the best interests of the children. They will make recommendations to the Court, encourage the child to grow to their fullest potential, and become involved in key issues in their life, especially permanent placement, and school, health, and mental health issues.
A Cry for Help
Judges typically assign CASA volunteers their most difficult and complex cases: children with prior maltreatment or contact with child welfare, cases of extreme abuse or neglect, or those where there is a great level of risk of further abuse and neglect. Many children assigned to CASA have learning disabilities, physical disabilities, and significant emotional and mental health problems.
Children in the dependency court system face substantial obstacles in receiving the basic care that all children need: emotional support, parental guidance, and a stable and loving caregiver. More than that, they often lack appropriate education and vocational training, medical care, and the counseling they need to grow into productive adults.
Many children remain in foster care for years, and are moved around to many different placements. Studies have demonstrated that children who have experienced abuse and neglect are at significantly higher risk for academic failure, chronic delinquency, homelessness, adult criminal behavior, antisocial personality, and addictions. Moreover, as a child’s length of time in and out-of-home care increases, the probability of such negative outcome increases. CASA volunteers are instrumental in shortening the time that the child is in the dependency system (achieving either re-unification or adoption), while simultaneously assuring that the child’s needs are met.
I Am for the Child
400,000 children in America are still waiting for their CASA volunteer. Waiting for that one trusted adult who will stick with them until their case is resolved. Waiting because today CASA for Children can serve only 35% of the children in the foster care system.
Pledge Your Support
All children deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. All children have a right to a loving home where they can rebuild friendships, learn and grow. This isn’t just important; it is a fundamental obligation of our society to protect the rights and needs of our children during the most vulnerable time in their lives.
Pledge your support; please donate your car, boat or RV (running or not) to help CASA provide financial assistance for the children and the volunteer advocates.
$1,847.00 – The cost to provide a year of advocacy for a child.
$875.00 – The cost to support one CASA volunteer for a year.
How a caring CASA volunteer helped a mother and daughter connect at the darkest point in their lives.
Source: Some images, text and videos are the property and copyright of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).