Mission: The National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association, together with its state and local member programs, supports and promotes court-appointed volunteer advocacy so every abused or neglected child in the United States can be safe, have a permanent home and the opportunity to thrive. Read more about us.
CASA/GAL volunteers are appointed by judges to watch over and advocate for abused and neglected children, to make sure they don’t get lost in the overburdened legal and social service system or languish in inappropriate group or foster homes. Volunteers stay with each case until it is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. For many abused children, their CASA/GAL volunteer will be the one constant adult presence in their lives.
Independent research has demonstrated that children with a CASA/GAL volunteer are substantially less likely to spend time in long-term foster care and less likely to reenter care. Read more evidence of effectiveness.
Last year, more than 76,000 CASA and guardian ad litem (GAL) volunteers helped more than 251,000 abused and neglected children find safe, permanent homes. CASA/GAL volunteers are everyday citizens who have undergone screening and training with their local CASA/GAL program.
Judges appoint CASA volunteers to represent the best interests of children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. Each year, more than 600,000 children experience foster care in this country. Because there are not enough CASA/GAL volunteers to represent all of the children in care, judges typically assign CASA /GAL volunteers to their most difficult cases. Read the stories of young people whose lives were changed by the support of a CASA/GAL volunteer.
In 1977, a Seattle juvenile court judge concerned about making drastic decisions with insufficient information conceived the idea of citizen volunteers speaking up for the best interests of abused and neglected children in the courtroom. From that first program has grown a network of nearly 1,000 CASA and guardian ad litem programs that are recruiting, training and supporting volunteers in 49 states and the District of Columbia.
Read more about the history of the CASA movement. (Connection magazine, 1.82 MB PDF).
The primary source of National CASA Association’s funding is the federal government, through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Additional support comes from Jewelers for Children, individuals and other private funders. Read more about National CASA Association’s partners.
There are nearly 1,000 CASA/GAL programs in 49 states recruiting, training and supporting volunteers to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children in the courtroom and other settings.
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