What is a CASA?
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.
Why become a CASA?
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Children of DC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit whose mission is to promote court appointed volunteer advocacy so that every abused and neglected child in the DC foster care system can be safe, establish permanence and have the opportunity to thrive. This mission is carried out through the recruitment, training and support of volunteer advocates (CASA volunteers) who serve youth in DC.
CASA volunteers provide a voice in court for young people in foster care and establish a unique and supportive relationship with their young person to assist them in achieving safe, permanent homes and key life skills. As one of 950+ affiliates of National CASA for Children, CASA DC was born from a desire to provide DC foster care children with a consistent adult in what can easily become a whirlwind of attorneys, social workers and related professionals.
Since being founded in 2002, CASA for Children of DC has served over 800 children who have been victims of abuse and neglect through more than 400 volunteer advocates. CASA for Children of DC continues to be the leading voice of advocacy for children in the District of Columbia’s child welfare system through a unique and effective 1:1 advocacy model that helps youth find solace in what is often a tumultuous environment. After 30+ hours of training, volunteers are sworn in by the DC Superior Court and advocate to secure critical services for the child they are assigned, often helping them connect to jobs, educational opportunities, and housing. Because of their dogged advocacy and results, judges see CASA volunteers as “the eyes and the ears” of the court system. CASA volunteers handle just 1 or 2 cases at a time, so that they can give each child’s case the sustained, personal attention he or she deserves.
An Inspector General report for the U.S. Department of Justice said foster children who have CASA volunteers spend less time in long-term foster care, and are less likely to be homeless. More than90% of children with CASA volunteers never reenter the child welfare system, a significant difference compared to the general foster care population (Read National CASA’s 2013 Annual Report to learn more).
When you pair a foster child with a trained, caring adult who believes in his or her possibilities, REAL change happens. Supporting CASA DC lifts up young lives.
Ready to become a CASA volunteer? Fill out our application here!
Interested in sponsoring an upcoming CASA DC event? Check out our Corporate Sponsorship page.