WHO ARE CASAS? HOW ARE WE DIFFERENT?
CASA Volunteers are, like Attorneys and GALs, officers of the court. A judge appointed a special advocate to represent the best interests of abused and/or neglected children in court proceedings.
WHAT DOES A CASA VOLUNTEER DO?
CASA Volunteers gather information for the court. She or he recommends to the judge what the child needs to be safe and what it is in the child’s best interest for a permanent home. A CASA Volunteer advocates for a speedy decision that considers a child’s sense of time.
Well, when the court is making decisions that will effect a child’s future, the child needs and deserves a spokesperson – an objective adult to provide independent information about the best interests of the child. CASA Volunteers are assigned 1 case at a time – 1 CASA to 1 Case – to provide a “voice in court.” A CASA gives individual attention to each case.
CASA vs. Case Manager
- The roles are not the same.
- The CASA is independent from the social services system and focuses solely on the child.
- Case Managers/Case Workers are not able to be a wholly independent voice because they are part of the agency that has already taken a position in the case by filing a petition and bringing the matter to court.
A CASA Volunteer is an independent voice, not part of an agency that may be constrained by rules and regulations, agency policies, and fiscal limitations.
CASA vs. GAL
- In Georgia, GALs are attorneys who represent a child’s best interests in juvenile court proceedings.
- GALs have the ability to file petitions and other legal proceedings as well.
- CASA Volunteers serve as lay GALs – as a friend of the court, not bound by those attorney-to-client privilege restrictions.
CASA Volunteers are most often only involved with juvenile court deprivation/dependent proceedings. The ultimate goal: to help make sure the child has a safe, permanent home as quickly as possible.
In a nutshell, CASA Volunteers are people like you…teachers, business people, retirees, stay-at-home moms, grandparents, college students…extraordinary people who want to make certain the voices of abused and neglected children are heard. And, like attorneys and GALs, we all call the same place home…..
Information provided by: