What is CASA?
CASA is the only volunteer organization that empowers everyday citizens as officers of the court. CASA is a federally- and state-mandated, non-profit organization that recruits, trains and supports community citizens to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children who are under the protection of the Juvenile Dependency Court. In an overburdened social welfare system, many of these children will “slip through the cracks” among the hundreds of open dependency cases.
Oregon State Statute – ORS 419A.170
Oregon State Statute – ORS 419A.170 provides that upon presentation of the order of appointment by the Court, any agency, hospital, school organization, division or department of the state, doctor, nurse or other health care provider, psychologist, psychiatrist, police department or mental health clinic shall permit the CASA to inspect and copy (and may consult with the court appointed special advocate regarding) any records relating to the child or children involved in the case without the consent of the child or parents.
The CASA Pledge:
We pledge to Fight on Behalf of America’s Children: until every court in the United States recognizes a CASA volunteer as essential for a successful outcome for children; until our volunteer base reflects the diversity and cultural makeup of children in the system; until every potential donor understands the importance of our mission, and places it at the top of their priority list; until every legislator and government official at the local, state, federal and tribal level understands the far-reaching results CASA can achieve, and places our work at the top of their agenda; and until every child can thrive in the safe embrace of a loving family.
What we do:
CASAs investigate the child’s situation, report their findings, and make recommendations to the Judge. CASAs facilitate the services needed to maintain the active and positive growth of the child. CASAs advocate for the child’s best interest and needs. CASAs monitor the progress of the case as it moves through the system until the child is in a safe, permanent home.
Why we do it:
In 2011, in Linn County alone, 607 children were victims of child abuse and neglect resulting in 391 being removed from their home and placed in foster care (2011 Status of Children Report). They end up in court; their only “crime” is that they have been victims.
THIS IS WHERE CASA COMES INTO THE PICTURE. CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates, a diverse group of well trained community individuals appointed by a Judge to speak up for these children. CASAs spend thousands of hours every year working on behalf of children in the communities of Linn County. Many children now reside in safe, nurturing, permanent homes because of their efforts.