CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate. CASAs are volunteers who are appointed by judges in child abuse and neglect cases to research the case, review documents, interview people and make a report to the Court as to what is in the best interest of abused and/or neglected children in terms of services, placement, visitation, reunification, and permanency.
CASAs are objective, community volunteers who are not part of the child welfare system, who focus their efforts solely on gathering information and making recommendations regarding children in abuse, neglect, or dependency cases– who would otherwise have no voice. Volunteers are carefully screened and are very well trained; they receive a minimum 30 hours of initial training and 12 hours of ongoing training each year.
CASA volunteers monitor the child’s situation while they are in foster care to make sure they are safe and to make sure their psychological, physical, educational and other needs are met. Volunteers are often the only constant the child knows as he/she moves through the labyrinth of the child welfare system. When a CASA volunteer accepts a case, they must agree to stay with it until the child has a safe, permanent home. Because volunteers carry only 1 or 2 cases at a time and are assigned to each case for its life, they typically have a depth and breadth of information that other parties may not have. Because of this extensive focus on the child, our national motto is “I am for the Child.”
The Kentucky CASA Network
Kentucky is composed of 18CASA programs in 41 counties. The Kentucky CASA Network is an informal network of these programs providing resources, technical assistance, and advocating on behalf of programs. CASA programs do not receive state funding, and rely on local governments and private donors to continue to help children in need. CASA programs are governed by the Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) as part of section 620. Each CASA volunteer receives 30 hours of specialized training and 12 annual hours of continuing education to ensure they have the knowledge and skills necessary for these cases.
The CASA Programs in Kentucky are part of a larger National Network. The National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (NCASA) is the national organization which advocates for abused and neglected children in the Court System and in foster care. There are over 900 local CASA programs which receive technical assistance and training from NCASA.
For More Information on National CASA visit www.CASAforChildren.org.