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Special Child Advocates - A Volunteer Court Program (From Perspectives on Child Maltreatment in the Mid '80s, P 54-57, 1984 - See NCJ-105544)

NCJ Number
M Blady
Date Published
4 pages
The Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) project, sponsored by the National Council of Jewish Women, provides volunteer lay guardians ad litem to perform an independent evaluation of child abuse and neglect cases and offer recommendations as to what is in the child's best interests, both over the short term and the long term.
The CASA's role is not to duplicate the work of the social worker but rather to analyze the social worker's findings from the perspective of the child's advocate. The CASA has one case at a time, which gives her more time than social workers, attorneys, and judges to conduct interviews with everyone involved in the case, explore innovative service alternatives, monitor the child's postdisposition progress, and ensure that agencies deliver the services in the case plan. The philosophical posture of the CASA is to return the child to the natural family if possible, or if this is not possible to free the child for adoption. The CASA program began in July 1979. The project sites chosen established advisory boards to advise chairwomen and coordinators on policy and practical issues. Volunteers were selected for their relevant skills and characteristics, followed by extensive training. Evaluation of the project has not yet been completed, but court personnel are generally favorable toward the program. The three original CASA projects are working to secure funding to continue after initial funding is terminated. 4 footnotes.