Mission & Purpose
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Children DC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that recruits, trains and supports volunteer advocates who serve youth in DC’s child welfare system. CASAs provide a voice in court for young people in foster care and establish a unique and supportive relationship with their youth to assist them in achieving safe, permanent homes and key life skills. As one of 951 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 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 CASAs 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.
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.
An Inspector General report for the U.S. Department of Justice said foster children who have CASAs spend less time in long-term foster care, and are less likely to be homeless. More than 90% 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).
About 1,300 children are currently in DC’s foster care system, and CASA for the Children of DC is only able to support a fraction of them right now.