We believe that all children have the right to a home with loving people to care for them. But each year in the United States, children are abused, neglected or abandoned by their families. They are removed from their homes and placed in foster care or institutions. Eventually, they end up in court. Their only "crime" is that they have been victims. It is up to the judge to decide their future. Should they remain in foster care? Be reunited with parents? Or be adopted? In these cases, many children also become victims a second time, lost in an overburdened child welfare system that cannot pay close attention to each child whose life is in its hands. That's where CASA comes in. CASA volunteers are Court Appointed Special Advocates for children - trained community volunteers appointed by a judge as Officers of the court to speak up for children in court, and to help to humanize the often frightening and confusing child welfare and legal systems for these children.
The Johnson County CASA Program is a branch of the Johnson County Circuit Court. The program receives funds from the State of Indiana that are matched by Johnson County. Additional funding is provided thru local, state and federal grants.
Unlike state case managers, CASA volunteers represent the child as long as he or she has an active case with the court. By serving the child for the "long haul", the child will always have a familiar face and will know that someone cares about them during this difficult time.
Children who have been assigned a CASA volunteer spend less time in court and less time in foster care than those who do not have a CASA. They find safe, permanent homes more quickly.
The State CASA Office assists the county offices by tracking legislature bills, maintains an information web site, provides training to CASAs and staff, facilitates development of outreach campaigns and provides general support to the county programs.
The National CASA Association is a non-profit organization that represents and serves the local CASA programs. It provides training, technical assistance, research, news and public awareness service to members, as well as providing competitive grant funding to individual programs.
No. There are other child advocacy organizations, but CASA is the only program where volunteers are appointed by the court to represent a child's best interests.