This section is a compilation of answers to the questions most commonly asked by our constituents. Just start by following one of the links below. If you can’t find the question you wanted to ask, don’t hesitate to contact us.
- What is a CASA?
- What is the role of the CASA?
- How does a CASA investigate a case?
- Who can be a CASA Volunteer?
- What training does a CASA Receive?
- What children are assigned to CASA?
- How effective have CASA programs been?
- Do lawyers, judges, and social service caseworkers support CASA?
- What is the role of the National CASA Association?
- If I donate, how is my money used?
What is a CASA?
A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is a community volunteer who is appointed by a Judge to represent the best interests of a child involved in a Dependency, Abuse, or neglect case.
What is the role of the CASA?
A CASA provides the Judge with a carefully researched report of their appointed child/children to help the court make sound decisions about the child’s/children’s future. Each case is as unique as the child or children involved. The CASA will make recommendations on placement and services that are in the best interest of the child/children to the Judge. The CASA will continue the case until the child/children are placed in a safe and permanent home.
How does a CASA investigate a case?
To prepare a recommendation, the CASA talks with the child, parents, family members, social workers, school officials, health providers, and others who are knowledgeable about the child’s history. CASA also utilizes their court order of appointment to collect records from various sources to review prior to making recommendations.
Who can be a CASA Volunteer?
CASA Volunteers come from all walks of life, with a variety of professional, educational and ethnic backgrounds. Volunteers are ordinary citizens, that are twenty-one years of age or older. No special or legal background is required. However, volunteers are screened closely for objectivity, competence, and commitment.
What training does a CASA Receive?
CASA Volunteers undergo a thorough, one-time, 30- hour training. Volunteers learn about courtroom procedure from the principals in the system: judges, lawyers, service providers, caseworkers, court personnel and others. Volunteers learn effective advocacy techniques and are educated about specific topics ranging from child sexual abuse to early childhood development and adolescent behavior. Cultural awareness and sensitivity are part of the training curriculum. The culmination of the initial training is the swearing-in ceremony with the Judge where the CASA Volunteers become sworn officers of the Court.
Following the initial training, Volunteers are required to complete 12 hours of Continued Education a year to remain active with cases. The Continued Education is pro-rated from the time a volunteer is sworn in. From the sworn in date Volunteers will be assigned one case and will continue with that case until it is completed.
What children are assigned to CASA?
Children who are victims of sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, or neglect for whom cases have been filed in the Juvenile Court, are assigned a CASA Volunteer.
How effective have CASA programs been?
Children with a CASA Volunteer are half as likely to spend time in long-term foster care, defined as more than three years in care. Cases involving Volunteers are more likely to be permanently closed. Fewer than 10% of children with a CASA Volunteer reenter the foster care system. Volunteers spend most of their time with a child. They generally handle just one or two cases at a time so that they can give each child the sustained, personal attention he or she deserves. To a child, that means a consistent and caring adult in his or her life.
Do lawyers, judges, and social service caseworkers support CASA?
Yes. Juvenile and family court judges implement the CASA program in their courtrooms and appoint the Volunteers. CASA has been endorsed by the American Bar Association, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators. CASA is a major project of Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority and Kiwanis.
What is the role of the National CASA Association?
The National CASA Association is a non-profit organization that represents and serves local CASA Programs. It provides training, technical assistance, research, legislative awareness, news, and public awareness services to members. The National CASA Association is in Seattle, Washington, and is funded through a combination of private grants, federal funds, memberships and contributions.
If I donate, how is my money used?
To provide an abused and neglected child with a CASA volunteer for an entire year costs $1,000. This goes to training volunteers, conducting background checks, and providing support for volunteers. Comparatively, a child in foster care costs the Commonwealth of Kentucky $1,000 a month.
We have a responsibility to our community and our donors and work hard to ensure long-term sustainability of the organization. We make our IRS Form 990 available for review, as required by law.