A CASA volunteer is a trained community member who is appointed by a judge to represent the best interests of a child in court. CASA volunteers are assigned to the case of an abused or neglected child who is in the child welfare system. The volunteer continues until the case is permanently resolved. One of the primary benefits of the CASA program is that unlike other court principals who often rotate cases, the CASA volunteer is a consistent figure in the proceedings and provides continuity for the child.
Change a Child's Story
Over 4,000 Louisiana children experience abuse or neglect each year. When a child enters the child welfare system because their home is no longer safe, a judge may appoint a Court Appointed Special Advocate, or a CASA volunteer, to speak up for the best interests of the child in family court and other settings.
As a CASA volunteer, you will make a real difference for abused and neglected children by giving them a voice and providing a stable influence in their lives. You will serve as the eyes and ears of the court to promote the safety and well-being of children in the protective services system. To ensure you understand your role, special training and supervision will be provided before you are assigned a case.
Data shows that children who are assigned a CASA volunteer advocate are more likely to:
Find a safe, permanent home
Spend less time in foster care
Have fewer moves between foster placements
Do better in school
Receive the services they need
Avoid re-entry into foster care
CASA programs are positively impacting the lives of abused and neglected children.
CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to advocate for children’s best interests. They stay with each case until it is closed and the child is in a safe, permanent home. We serve children from birth through when they leave foster care. Volunteers work with legal and child welfare professionals, educators and service providers to ensure that judges have all the information they need to make the most well-informed decisions for each child.
Our best-interest advocacy is driven by the guiding principle that children grow and develop best with their family of origin, if that can be safely achieved. Most of the children we work with are in foster care, but some are with their family of origin. And, most children who leave foster care do so to return to their family. CASA volunteers advocate for the best interests of children who have been abused or neglected. Here's what that means:
Learn all you can about the child and their family, life, and home.
Engage with the child during regular visits.
Speak up for the child's best interst in court and make recommendations.
Collaborate with others to ensure that services are provided to the child.
Report what you have learned and observed to the court.
CASA volunteers must:
Be willing to commit several hours of your time each month for at least one year
Communicate effectively both orally and in writing
Participate in an in-depth training program
Participate in an in-service training
Pass criminal and DCFS history background checks
Be over age 21
CASA volunteer responsibilities include:
Spending a significant amount of time with a child to build a relationship and gain their trust
Exploring all aspects of the child’s life and gather information from everyone involved, including family members, foster parents, teachers, daycare providers, doctors, lawyers, social workers and other relevant persons
Ensuring the child has access to needed services, i.e. medical, education and housing
Accompanying the child to court to advocate for their needs and rights
Providing a comprehensive picture of the child’s life to the judge when the case goes to court
Promoting safety and bringing a sense of urgency to the child’s needs
Committing to advocate for the child’s best interest until they reach a safe, permanent home
Become a CASA volunteer
Are you ready to speak up for children in need? Fill out the form below to take the next step.