court appointed special advocates
We envision a world where every abused or neglected child is given the opportunity to thrive in a save, permanent home.
Every day in this country, 1,900 children become victims of abuse or neglect, and four of them will die. Too many of these vulnerable children spend years moving from one temporary home to another, becoming victimized within a complex and overburdened system. These children are at risk for homelessness, unemployment, and even prison as adults.
In Frederick and Carroll Counties, the Mental Health Association operates Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and Voices for Children—programs that recruit, train and support citizen-volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in courtrooms and communities. Volunteer advocates—empowered directly by the courts—offer judges the critical information they need to ensure that each child’s rights and needs are being attended to while in foster care. Volunteers stay with children until they are placed in loving permanent homes. For many abused children, a CASA volunteer is the only constant adult presence in their lives.
A CASA is a mature, responsible, caring adult at least 21 years of age who:
- Is appointed by a judge to represent the best interests of a child in court
- Serves children who are determined by the court to be victims of abuse and neglect
- Focuses on one child or sibling group at a time, gathering information from people and agencies involved with the child(ren)
- Encourages the child to express his or her own opinions while remaining an objective observer
- Reports information and recommendations to the court about what is in each child’s best interest
- Is available to attend court hearings and complete interview visits and reports over the average case involvement of one year
- Is committed to spending an average of two hours per week working on a case
- Completes required course of training
- Submits to a background check and commits to at least one year of service
- The goal of a CASA volunteer is to help the court to secure a safe and permanent home for every child
For more information about the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program, please contact Jennifer Fuss at 301-663-0011 ext. 118 or visit the National CASA website. If you are interested in becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer, please fill out the CASA Volunteer Application Form online here.
CASA in Frederick County and Voices for Children in Carroll County are members of the National CASA Association and Affiliated with the Maryland CASA Association.
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