Overview of CASA Program Back in 1977, a Seattle judge conceived the idea of using trained community volunteers to speak in court for the best interests of abused children. So successful was this Seattle program that soon judges across the country began utilizing citizen advocates. In 1990, the U.S. Congress encouraged the expansion of CASA with passage of the Victims of Child Abuse Act. Today more than 900 CASA program offices are in operation, with more than 50,000 trained women and men serving as CASA volunteers nationwide. CASA is an acronym for Court Appointed Special Advocate. CASA volunteers come from all walks of life, and volunteering requires no special experience. You must be 21 years old, pass a background screening and complete a 30 hour training program.
What does having a CASA volunteer mean to an abused child? Imagine what it would be like to lose your parents, not because of something you did, but because they can’t — or won’t — take care of you. Now, into your life come dozens of strangers: police, foster parents, social workers, judges, lawyers, and more. Having a CASA volunteer means having by your side a trained and committed adult who has been appointed by a judge to watch over and advocate for your best interests. That volunteer will make sure you don’t get lost in the overburdened legal and social service system or languish in an inappropriate group or foster home. They will be there for you until your case is closed. It can make the difference between homelessness and a safe home, between dropping out and completing school, between unemployment and success, between jail and becoming a productive member of society.
|You go into a court room and you will see lawyers who know the law and have dozens of kids' files, or you have social workers who know the regulations and have dozens of kids' files. But if a CASA volunteer is in the room, you will see they have just one file, and what they know is that one child. And that can make all the difference to a judge's decision regarding the rest of that child's life.|
|— Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Anna Quindlen|
CASA volunteers are the only volunteers that are appointed by a judge and empowered to stand up for an abused or neglected child in court. We invite you to learn more about becoming a CASA volunteer by contacting a CASA program in your community: Sandoval County, Cibola County or Valencia County. Or, check out the national CASA website. We hope you decide to join our family of volunteers, everyday people, who are committed to improving children’s lives.
|Cibola CASA||Sandoval CASA|