As a caregiver, you may or may not have worked with a CASA volunteer for a child or sibling group in your home. Each caregiver will likely have different experiences with CASA volunteers as each case is different and there is flexibility in the CASA volunteer role as it relates to day-to-day activities with their assigned child or sibling group. As such, some of you may have a different understanding or experience with each CASA volunteer. So let’s talk about some of the basics when it comes to working with a CASA volunteer.
What does CASA stand for?
Court Appointed Special Advocate.
What is the role of the CASA volunteer?
The CASA volunteer is appointed by the Judge to represent the best interest of the child or children to whom they have been assigned, and to advocate for the child, in and out of court. The ultimate goal is to help children achieve permanency in a timely manner.
Can a caregiver also be a CASA volunteer?
Yes. However, a caregiver cannot be the CASA volunteer for a child or sibling group placed in their home.
How are CASA volunteers different from Children’s Attorney Project (CAP) attorneys?
- CASA volunteers are assigned to only one child or sibling group, whereas the CAP attorneys have caseloads of approximately 100 children, at any given time.
- CASA volunteers are specially trained to consider issues relevant to the best interests of the child. The CAP attorneys are required to protect the child’s legal rights, as well as to represent “the wishes of the child.”
Sometimes, the CASA volunteer and the CAP attorney may have differing opinions, and that is okay, because what the child wants may not necessarily be in his/her best interest.
Does the CASA program have access to funds that can assist me with my foster child?
No. The CASA program does not, but the CASA Foundation does. The CASA Foundation is a separate 501c3 non-profit organization that supports the efforts of the CASA program, as well as provide for the unmet needs of any foster child. The CASA Foundation supports request for:
Educational Enrichment (Tutoring)
Medical cost-not covered by Medicaid
Miscellaneous – when in doubt, make the request
Can a caregiver request support from the CASA Foundation if the child in care does not have an assigned CASA volunteer?
Yes, the CASA Foundation supports any child in care who is under the jurisdiction of the Courts and is assigned a DFS caseworker.
How can I request funds for my foster child through the CASA Foundation?