What is a CASA volunteer?
A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer is a
trained citizen who is appointed by a judge to represent the
best interests of abused and neglected children in court.
What is the CASA volunteer's role?
A CASA volunteer provides a judge with carefully researched
background of the child to help the court make a sound
decision about that child's future. The CASA volunteer must
determine if it is in a child's best interest to stay with
his or her parents or guardians, be placed in foster care,
be placed with other relatives, or be freed for permanent
How does a CASA volunteer investigate
To prepare a recommendation, the CASA volunteer talks with the
child, parents, family members, social workers, school
officials, health providers and others who are knowledgeable
about the child's history. The CASA volunteer also reviews
all records pertaining to the child -- school, medical and
case worker reports; and other documents.
How does the role of a CASA volunteer
differ from an attorney?
The CASA volunteer does not provide legal representation. That
is the role of the attorney. However, the CASA volunteer
does provide crucial background information that assists
attorneys in presenting their cases.
Is there a "typical" CASA volunteer?
CASA volunteers come from all walks of life, with a variety of
educational and ethnic backgrounds. There are more than
58,000 CASA volunteers nationally. Aside from their CASA
volunteer responsibility, 50 percent are employed in regular
How many cases on average does a CASA
volunteer carry at a time?
The number varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but an
average caseload is one to two.
How many CASA programs are there?
There are now 950 CASA programs in every state across the
country including Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin
How effective have CASA programs
Research suggests that children who have been assigned CASA
volunteers tend to spend less time in court and less time
within the foster care system than those who do not have
CASA representation. Judges have observed that CASA children
also have better chances of finding permanent homes than
How much time does it require?
Each case is different. A CASA volunteer usually spends about
10 hours doing research and conducting interviews prior to
the first court appearance. More complicated cases take
longer. Once initiated into the system, volunteers work
about 10-15 hours a month.
How is CASA funded?
At the local level, CASA programs are generally funded through
a combination of private and public funds. Many programs are
privately funded through service organizations such as the
Junior League and the National Council of Jewish Women. The
National CASA Association is funded through a combination of
private grants, federal funds (U.S. Justice Department),
memberships and contributions.
The mission of the National Court Appointed Special Advocate
Association is to speak for the best interests of abused and
neglected children in the courts. We promote and support
quality volunteer representation for children to provide
each child a safe, permanent, nurturing home.