Nonprofit or community organization
Last modified: April 9, 2012, 5:28 PM
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is a unique, volunteer-based child advocacy organization dedicated to improving the lives of children in New York City foster care. These children are among the most vulnerable in the city, yet the agencies charged with serving them have historically been overloaded. As a result, a child's needs are often overlooked. In response to this challenge, CASA's Master-level social work staff recruit, train and supervise volunteer community members to advocate solely on behalf of foster children who have been victims of abuse and neglect, and whom Family Court Judges deem most in need of advocacy. As objective players, CASA's volunteer advocates often serve as invaluable liaisons among all parties involved in each aspect of the court proceedings—from speaking to a child's teachers and doctors to ensure that needed medical and educational services are in place, to reporting placement problems and progress to the attention of the court. Advocates protect the basic needs and well being of children caught in the maze of foster care and Family Court, and contribute to the overall process of placing a child into safe, permanent homes where they can thrive.