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Was there ever a time in your life when you needed someone to stand up for you?
Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA, provides a powerful voice for abused and neglected children. In 2019, there were 1,034 founded cases of abuse and neglect in Jackson County. In an overburdened system, these children risk slipping through the cracks and suffering from further abuse. CASA volunteers have the power to prevent this tragic reality. These dedicated, highly-trained community members serve as fact finders for the judge by researching the background of each assigned case. They speak for the child in the courtroom, representing the child’s best interests, and work to move the child as quickly and effectively as possible through the system and into a safe, permanent home.
 
What Is CASA of Jackson County? CASA of Jackson County, founded in 1990, is a non-profit organization responsible for recruiting, training and supporting the work of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteers. CASA volunteers do what no one else does- they donate their time to act as independent eyes and ears of the court and speak solely for the best interest of children and youth in the custody of DHS.
 
CASA of Jackson County is an Equal Opportunity Program and Equal Employment Opportunity
Who Are CASAs?
  • At least 21 years of age
  • No degree/educational requirements, any/all career paths
  • FT employed, PT employed, self-employed, retired, students
  • LGBTQI/cisgender adults
  • All Socioeconomic statuses
  • All cultural, linguistic backgrounds, or citizenship status
  • From any state or country and reside in Jackson County
  • All value systems, religious/spiritual backgrounds
  • Individuals with no children, with young children, or adult children out of the home
  • Married couples and/or pairs of friends who can co-CASA
  • Current foster parents or adoptive parents (cannot CASA a child in your home or care)
  • Individuals who volunteer with other organizations
  • Individuals who can communicate respectfully and professionally
  • Above all – nice people who are ethical and trustworthy; can be collaborative and accept feedback on their performance in their role; can recognize and work on their biases and strive to maintain objectivity; and can work from a strength-based approach instead of a negative perspective
Who Are the Children?
  • Children in the juvenile court dependency system due to allegations of abuse or neglect against their parents.  This includes physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, or witnessing domestic violence.
  • Children between the ages of 0-18 (sometimes 21 if the child is still in school, in a treatment facility, or has a disability).
  • Children who come from all walks of life, ages, ethnicities, cultural backgrounds, gender identities, and all corners of Jackson County.
 
What Does A CASA Do?
  • Gathers all pertinent information related to the child’s case
  • Identifies the child’s needs and ensures appropriate services
  • CASAs show up and speak up
  • Makes recommendations to the court judge through written and verbal reports
  • Serves as a consistent & knowledgeable advocate for the child’s placement in a safe, permanent and nurturing home
Why Do We Need CASAs?
  • The presiding judge relies on the CASA to investigate the case and recommend what is in the child’s best interest.
  • CASAs strive to make sure children are not re-abused
  • CASAs ensure children receive needed services (therapy, health care, special education)
  • CASAs are often the only consistent person in an abused child’s life
 
Children Served
  • In Jackson County in 2019, 224 CASAs served 724 children.
  • Of the 724 children served by a CASA in 2019, 87% reunited with parents and 13% were adopted or found legal guardians. In addition, 235 continue to have the powerful voice of a CASA.
CASA of Jackson County Funding
State Government: 14% | Grants: 36% | Community Support: 50%
 

We are the CASA movement.

We are ordinary people. We come from all walks of life, all across the country.
We are trained volunteers who step up to assist Judges and serve the nation’s most vulnerable children as CASAs.
We work in our own communities, but we share a common set of values.We believe in the rights and dignity of children.
We are committed to putting that belief to work for children who have been abused or neglected. And we hold
ourselves to the highest standards of excellence in service.
Across the country today, we serve more than a quarter-million children. Hundreds of thousands more children need our help.
 
 

We are there for the child.

Whatever their age, children removed from home because of abuse or neglect face a frightening, profound unknown.
We make sure they don’t face it alone.
We stand by them. We are there whenever they need us, for as long as it takes to reach a safe, permanent home.
We are strong, compassionate adults who are a consistent presence, who care, who listen, and who put the child’s interests before all others.
We give children a say in what is happening to them. We speak for them when they cannot speak for themselves.
We help them heal and thrive. We give them the support they need to become happy, successful adults.
We help them find the road home, wherever it lies.

 

We are there for the Judge.

To make decisions that affect the rest of a child’s life, judges need to know the child. We help them do that.
We take the time to get to know the child at the heart of each case. We go where they go.
We talk to the people who touch their lives-parents and foster parents, family members, teachers, doctors,
neighbors, friends, social workers, attorneys, and therapists.
We gather the details only a dedicated volunteer with a caseload of one or two can deliver.
Every visit, call, and report we make gives judges what they need to act in the best interests of the child.
Every detail helps judges move the child out of the system and into a permanent home.

 

We are there to change lives.

And we do. Children who have a CASA receive more of the services that are critical to their well-being than children who don’t.
They are more likely to succeed in school.
And while their cases are among the most difficult and heartbreaking, children with CASAs
cycle through fewer foster placements and spend less time in foster care.
They reach safe, permanent homes and loving families more quickly. What’s that worth to a child? To a community? To a nation?
The answer in dollars is impressive: $540 million a year in savings on foster care alone.
The answer in everything else we value as a society – health, happiness, resilience, hope, strength, human potential,
faith in ourselves and in our neighbors – is beyond measure.

 

We are not there alone.

Our work with children is one-on-one, but we do not work alone.
We are a movement, a group of people who have come together to advance a shared goal.
Our movement includes nearly 1,000 state organizations and local programs that currently support more than 77,000 CASAs.
And it includes judges, attorneys, caseworkers, families, policymakers, donors, and friends.