10-Second Elevator Speech
CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates. We are a national organization of volunteers that judges appoint to speak for the safety and well-being of abused and neglected children.
By being independent investigators and advocates, our volunteers can make all the difference in these children’s lives. One example: research shows children with a CASA volunteer are much less likely to languish in long-term foster care.
Key Facts About Our Cause
- The CASA model is unique, the only program in which judges appoint everyday citizens to speak up for a child’s safety and well-being.
- Children assigned to CASA volunteers are victims of abuse and neglect.
- CASA programs are part of a national cause, with 70,919 volunteers in 1,055 locations across the country. Last year, we served about a quarter million children, approximately one-third of the 780,000+ children experiencing foster care in 2009.
- CASA volunteers come from all walks of life. You do not have to be a lawyer or social worker to volunteer. We welcome volunteers from all cultures, professions as well as ethnic and educational backgrounds. Roughly half of our volunteers work full time.
- CASA volunteers are well trained, with no less than 30 hours of training prior to being assigned to a case. Volunteers are well supported by local CASA program staff with professional backgrounds in the legal and child welfare fields.
- Judges, attorneys, child welfare workers and parents overwhelmingly report that volunteers make a difference with the children they serve.
Key Benefits of CASA Advocacy
- Children with a CASA volunteer are half as likely to spend time in long-term foster care, defined as more than three years in care.
- Cases involving a CASA volunteer are more likely to be permanently closed. Fewer than 10% of children with a CASA volunteer reenter the foster care system.
- CASA volunteers spend most of their volunteer time in contact with a child. They generally handle just one or two cases at a time so that they can give each child the sustained, personal attention he or she deserves. To a child, that means a consistent and caring adult presence in his or her life.
- CASA advocacy saves taxpayer dollars. If the median length of stay were shortened for children in foster care by just one month, it would realize a national savings to taxpayers of approximately $2.75 billion.