What is CASA?
The Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program provides training and support to volunteer advocates who serve as a voice in court for the best interests of abused and/or neglected children through the jurisdiction of the Family Court.
What qualifications must a CASA Advocate have?
Advocates must be 21 years of age or older who exhibit responsibility, maturity, common sense, and have a flexible schedule. Advocates must complete the 30-hour training program and security clearance checks before being assigned to a case.
For Whom Does the CASA Advocate Speak?
The CASA Advocate speaks for the best interests of each child they are assigned. Each advocate gathers information from all pertinent parties involved with their case and transmits this information to the Family Court Judge in the form of court reports which the advocate and the program director jointly create.
What Are A CASA Advocate’s Responsibilities?
The uniqueness of a CASA Advocate is the ability to focus on one family at a time in order to bring information to the Family Court’s attention regarding the best interests of each child within the family.
Through the authority of the Family Court, advocates investigate to determine if the designated court action plan is being properly carried out and is appropriate for each child. This requires the advocate to attend court hearings and other service provider conferences for their assigned family. CASA Advocates are also asked to read all pertinent records in order to gain a thorough understanding of their case.
Due to the nature of the information to which Advocates have access, an Oath of Confidentiality is required of each person and is administered by the Family Court Judge prior to being assigned to a case. CASA Advocates must establish a working relationship with the child or children, the parent(s), foster parents, caseworkers, law guardians, and all other pertinent parties involved with their case. The ability to make solid and researched recommendations for each child requires a complete understanding of all the factors affecting each child’s life.
The CASA Advocate’s investigation of the case provides the court with an independent assessment of the child’s situation and aids the judge in decisions regarding the child’s future.
To receive more information about CASA, being a CASA volunteer, making a tax-deductible donation to CASA or having a speaker visit your organization to talk about this program use the contact link at the top of the page.
Links of Interest:
- CASA of New York State: www.casanys.org
- National CASA: www.casaforchildren.org
- The United Way of Northern NY:
- Child Abuse NY: www.child-abuse.com
- KidsOnFirst: www.kidsonfirst.com
- NYS Office of Child and Family Service:
- Unified Court system CASA Assistance Program:
- New York Interest on Lawyers Account Fund:
Think you might like to volunteer?
Click the link below for a volunteer application to print and mail to:
Cortney Shatraw, Director
Application: CASA Volunteer Application (PDF)
Sponsorship for CASA of Jefferson and Lewis Counties is provided by