I'M A CASA, WHAT'S YOUR SUPERPOWER?
A CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) is a trained and dedicated community volunteer assigned to lift the voice of a youth in the DC Foster Care system. Through this core program, CASA volunteers are assigned to work with children who have open abuse and neglect cases in the DC Family Court. The children range in age from infant to 21 and have a broad range of needs. CASA volunteers are appointed and sworn in by judges in order to fully investigate a youth’s circumstances and advocate for what is in the youth’s best interest. While teachers, therapists and other professionals come and go, the CASA provides a constant support for the youth to count on in order to thrive.
CASAs are expected to...
Build a relationship: Visit the child twice a month. Your visits can be anything ranging from bike riding, to volunteering together at an animal shelter, to working on college applications
Gather information: Review documents and records, interview the child, family, and professionals in the child’s life
Document findings: Write a court report for each hearing
Attend court hearings: Appear at the youth’s hearings and provide testimony when necessary. Hearings are roughly 30 minutes and occur every 3-4 months during the day on weekdays.
Explain what is going on: Help the youth understand the court proceedings
“Fill in the cracks”: Seek cooperative solutions among individuals and organizations involved in the children’s lives.
Recommend services: Ensure that the children and their family are receiving appropriate services and advocate for those that are not immediately available. Bring concerns about the child’s health, education, mental health, etc. to the appropriate professionals.
Monitor case plans and court orders: Check to see that plans are being followed and mandated review hearings are being held
Keep the court informed: Update the court on developments with agencies and family members. Ensure that appropriate motions are filed on behalf of the child so the court knows about any changes in the child’s situation.