whats is a casa?
A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is a trained volunteer who is appointed by a judge to represent the best interest of an abused or neglected child in the court system.
What is the role of the CASA?
Once the judge has appointed a CASA to a case, the CASA will meet at least one time per month with the child and get to know everything about the child. The CASA must thoroughly examine the child’s situation, living environment, and overall well-being. Additionally, the CASA gathers information from relevant parties and includes all findings in a thorough, concise, and well-researched report. The report is submitted to the judge and is utilized by the court to determine if it is in the child’s best interest to stay with his or her parent(s) or guardian(s), be placed in foster or relative care, or seek permanent adoption. The CASA makes a recommendation on placement and services to the judge. Following the initial report, the CASA remains on the case, maintaining regular visits with the child and updating the court at review hearings, until the child is placed in a safe, permanent home.
How does a CASA gather information?
When a CASA is appointed to a case, they receive an official court order. The CASA utilizes the court order to collect records from various sources to review and include in their court report. Additionally, the CASA talks with the child and all relevant parties, which may include the child’s parents, family members, social workers, school officials, health providers, and others who are knowledgeable about the child’s history and case. All information is gathered by the CASA prior to making recommendations to the court.
Who can be a CASA?
A CASA is an ordinary community member, at least twenty-one years of age or older. People from all walks of life can serve as CASAs. A CASA is not required to have a formal degree, legal background, or specialized skills. A screening process is conducted to ensure that all CASAs are objective, dedicated, and competent.
How long does a CASA remain on a case?
Once appointed to a case, the CASA continues with regular duties until the case is permanently closed with the family court system. Volunteers of CASA of Eastern Kentucky are requested to make an initial one-year commitment of service to the program. This one-year commitment proves to be both beneficial to the child and the court system, as the volunteer is a consistent figure in the child’s life and in court proceedings, providing consistency, continuity, and familiarity to all parties involved during the course of the proceedings.