The first Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program was started in Seattle, Washington in 1977. Currently, every state has one or more programs. The first Kansas CASA program was establised in Wichita in 1981. CASA of the 8th Judicial District is currently celebrating 34 years of service to the abused, neglected, and/or trafficked children in our jurisdiction.
The primary goal of CASA programs is to assist in securing permanency for children who are in the child welfare system because of alleged or confirmed abuse and/or neglect. The presiding judge in such a case may appoint a CASA Volunteer Advocate who is responsible for advocating for the best interests of the child/children and assisting the child/children in obtaining a permanent, safe, and homelike placement. Also, CASA Volunteer Advocates can be appointed to work with childrenin the juvenile justice system and children involved in domestic relations cases.
CASA program are not-for-profit organizations governed by local Boards of Directors. Additionally, all programs must meet certain standards which are establed by the Kansas Supreme Court. Programs are reviewed annually to insure compliance with the Supreme Court standards. Only programs meeting these standards are eligible to assign CASA Volunteer Advocates to cases.
What are the duties of a Volunteer Advocate?
The duties and responsibilities of a CASA Volunteer Advocate are set out in Supreme Court Rule 110. A CASA Volunteer Advocate should:
* personally investigate and become acquainted with the
facts, conditions, and circumstances affecting the welfare of
the child/children for whom appointed
* visit the child as often as necessary to monitor the child's
safety and observe whether the child's essential needs are
being met (a minimum of once per month)
* attend court hearings pertaining to the child (if possible)
* participate in staffings with professionals assigned to the
child to discuss case status
* participate in the development of the written reintegration
plan and/or modification of such plan
* submit written reports to the court prior to scheduled court
hearing involving the child