A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer, specially trained and supervised, is appointed by a Judge to speak up for a child in foster care. CASA volunteers help to secure safe and permanent homes for abused and neglected children by investigating and monitoring cases involving children in foster care.
LouisianaChildren.org is announcing a new initiative, the Louisiana Advocacy Corps for Children & Families, in partnership with the Corporation for National & Community Service AmeriCorps*VISTA program.
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The mission of CASA is to give every child who has been abused or neglected and opportunity to thrive, and establish permanence with quality advocacy from a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer. Nationwide 933 local CASA programs recruit, train and support volunteers in their work with abused and neglected children.
The mission of the Louisiana CASA Association is to support local programs in their efforts to ensure that abused and neglected children in the Louisiana legal system have a competent and caring volunteer advocate through quality, local CASA programs.
THE ROLE OF CASA
A CASA volunteer is a trained citizen who is appointed by a judge to represent the best interests of a child in court. Children helped by CASA volunteers are victims of abuse and neglect and are typically in foster care. 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.
CASA in Louisiana
Louisiana CASA Association (LACASA) grew out of an informal association of CASA program directors throughout the state. In 1994, LACASA was incorporated as a private 501(c)(3) organization. Membership is open to all CASA programs active in Louisiana that are members of National CASA. Membership categories include CASA volunteer, individual, associate, CASA program and honorary. All existing CASA programs are members of NCASAA and LACASA, and participate in the organization’s activities.
History of CASA
In 1977, a Seattle juvenile court judge concerned about making drastic decisions with insufficient information conceived the idea of citizen volunteers speaking up for the best interests of abused and neglected children in the courtroom. From that first program has grown a network of more than 933 CASA and guardian ad litem programs that are recruiting, training and supporting volunteers in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Read more about the history of National CASA here.