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What is the difference between CASA and other children’s advocacy groups?

We are SO glad you asked!

The key difference between CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) and other children’s advocacy groups is that a CASA volunteer is appointed by the judge to advocate on behalf abused and neglected children within the legal system. Unlike other child advocacy organizations, CASA volunteers are appointed specifically to one child or sibling set, providing individualized attention and consistent support throughout the case to ensure the child’s best interests are met. Additionally, CASA volunteers provide written reports and testify at every single hearing and trial for the child/children they represent.

CASA volunteers are distinct in their approach, dedicating their time to thoroughly investigate each case, gather relevant facts, and provide recommendations to the court based on the child’s well-being and future prospects. This personalized advocacy model allows CASA volunteers to focus on one or two cases at a time, ensuring sustained, personal attention for each child they serve.

In contrast, other children’s advocacy groups may have professionals like social workers who handle multiple cases simultaneously, limiting the depth of investigation and attention that can be given to each child. While social workers play a vital role in providing essential services and support to children in foster care, CASA volunteers are uniquely responsible for reporting to the court progress the child and parents are making with addressing core family needs.

Overall, the distinctive feature of CASA programs is the appointment of volunteers by the judge as officers of the court (or Guardians ad Litem), emphasizing their role in providing focused, child-centered advocacy that aims to secure safe and permanent homes for abused and neglected children.

Who can become a CASA?

Almost anyone can become a CASA, but we do have some qualifiers to become a Court Appointed Special Advocates:

  1. No Specific Background Required:
    • CASA volunteers do not need to be lawyers or social workers to volunteer. People from various professional, ethnic, and educational backgrounds are encouraged to join the program.
    • The critical requirement to become a CASA volunteer is a genuine care for children and their welfare, along with qualities like patience, good communication skills, and a commitment to making a difference in a child’s life.
  2. Qualifications:
    • To volunteer as a CASA, individuals typically need to be at least 21 years old, have no criminal history, be able to conduct home visits in specific counties, possess a computer with email access, and be proficient in English.
    • While no specific experience is required, volunteers are expected to commit to completing at least one case, which involves an average of 10-12 hours per month for 6-12 months.
  3. Diversity and Equity:
    • CASA programs value diversity and equity, aiming to recruit volunteers who reflect the diversity of the population they serve.
    • Volunteers are thoroughly trained and supported by professional staff throughout each case, ensuring that they have the necessary guidance and resources to advocate effectively for children in foster care.

A CASA volunteer can be anyone that is willing to commit time and energy to advocating for abused and neglected children. We at CASA LCTX are seeking those who are passionate about children’s welfare and making a positive impact for children in the foster care system in Liberty and Chambers Counties.

Are you ready? Become a CASA!