Court Appointed Special Advocates “CASAs” are volunteers advocating for children and youth who have been victims of abuse and neglect in their homes because their parents are unwilling or unable to care for them and through no fault of their own, they become dependents of the Child Welfare System. Imagine that you’ve been removed from your parents’ custody – not because of something you’ve done, but because of something terrible – an alcoholic mother who can’t put food on the table for a couple of days, or a father whose threats have turned into punching. You are now involved in an intimidating court system full of strange people. There is no one to give you the love, support & direction you need & you feel very lonely & scared. Now you will no longer have the support of an adult to help you navigate & overcome life’s challenges. If you are like many children in this situation, you will probably give up. You are also very likely to get in trouble for the lack of a consistent adult presence in your life.
This is where CASA comes in! A CASA volunteer is a member of the community, just like you, who spends time with children, monitor needed services & provide child-focused recommendations to the court based on the children’s best interests. The CASA volunteer serves as the “eyes & ears” of the judge for children in foster care & are instrumental in supporting the Juvenile Court in making the best recommendations to improve the lives of children & youth people in foster care. The Court and the Judges make very important decisions with the help from the different professionals who work with the child including the CASA volunteers. In this way, volunteers ensure that children do not get lost in the overloaded legal system or end up being placed in inappropriate foster homes.
Hundreds of children & youth cases are filed in Juvenile Court each year & currently 93 children & youth are waiting for a CASA volunteer to speak up for them in the courtroom, classroom & community. CASA is appealing to Sonoma County residents to volunteer. If you think you can commit to 2 hours a week for advocacy, friendship & emotional support to a child or youth in foster care, WE NEED YOU! Being a CASA can be very gratifying. A CASA is a powerful voice in a child’s life. Become a CASA Volunteer Today!
Our Fall Volunteer Training is scheduled for mid-October & it will be hybrid model-meaning that we will have Zoom as well as “in-person” training sessions. For more specific dates/times & more information or to sign up for the CASA training, contact ( 707) 565-6375