CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate. A CASA is a volunteer that is appointed by a judge to watch over and advocate for abused and neglected children. CASAs are ordinary men and women that come from all walks of life, educational levels, and ethnic backgrounds, who volunteer to serve as an advocate for a child or sibling group. Today, the law requires that every child in foster care be appointed a CASA. The CASA acts as the voice for the child. When a child enters the child welfare system, suddenly there are many strangers in their lives. There are judges, police officers, lawyers, counselors, foster parents, and others. This child needs a voice to remind everyone that at the heart of it all, there is a child involved.

We want to welcome and congratulate our five new CASA’s that were sworn in on December 20th by Honorable Judge Hampton. The following were the CASA’s that were sworn in: Dru Powers, Lois Cram, Laura Jokinen, Stevie Robinson, and Jorge Colon.

Once again congratulations and welcome to the CASA family!

blue-mt-healthy-families-and-casa-dinner-fundraiser

We want to thank everyone for making this event so wonderful and successful. I want to give a special thanks to everyone that attended, sold tickets, donated raffle baskets and helped in other ways. The money raised will go towards funding future CASA training’s and our overall program. Thank you for your support!

CASA-Potluck

I want to thank everyone who attended our CASA Annual Potluck on 8/24/16. It was wonderful connecting and spending time with our CASA family. I want to give a special “Shout Out” to one of our CASA Peer Mentors Vickie Chambers who hosted the event in her home. At the event we also acknowledged and thanked the CASA’s who have been active Advocates for one year. They all received a one year CASA pin and CASA key chain. The one year CASA’s included Teresa Best, Cheri Snodgrass, Brytni Owen and Dawn Rome–you all are amazing Advocates! Overall the food was delightful and we even had a surprise guest neighborhood dog who showed up for the festivities.

SMART’s 2016 GALA

2016 SMART's GALA

How do I become a CASA?

If you have a willingness to help children and be their voice, you can be a CASA. To become a CASA. you must complete the following 6 steps.

  1. Complete an application and interview.
  2. Pass a fingerprint and criminal history background check.
  3. Complete 36 hours of initial training and orientation. All of the training must be completed.
  4. Be sworn in as an officer of the court.
  5. Meet with the case manager for a case assignment.
  6. CONGRATULATIONS! You are now a CASA Volunteer.

Role of CASA?

When a CASA volunteer is appointed to a case, he or she is responsible for gathering information, and coordinating as many elements as possible, in order to secure for each child a safe, permanent home as quickly as possible. CASAs visit children regularly, review records, interview parents and relatives, consult with teachers and foster care providers. They advocate for the children and families to gain access to needed support and services. They appear in court to advocate on behalf of the child’s needs and best interests.

Why CASA?

CASA began over 30 years ago, when a judge became concerned about making decisions on behalf of abused and neglected children without enough information. He conceived the idea of appointing community volunteers to speak up for the best interests of the child in the courtroom.

Today, the law requires that every child in foster care be appointed a CASA. The CASA acts as the voice for the child. When a child enters the child welfare system, suddenly there are many strangers in their lives. There are judges, police officers, lawyers, counselors, foster parents, and others. This child needs a voice to remind everyone that at the heart of it all, there is a child involved. There are over 200 kids in Umatilla and Morrow County that need that voice. Will you be that voice?

Documents for CASA

Function of CASA?

A CASA is a trained citizen volunteer who is a party to the case and subject to the case, and subject to the direction of the court:

There are 4 functions of a CASA

INVESTIGATOR

The CASA thoroughly and conscientiously investigates all of the relevant facts in the situations. Interviews all concerned persons, including parents, child, child welfare workers, foster family, and counselors.

ADVOCATE

The CASAensures that all of the relevant facts of the situation are presented to the Court. Recommends to the Court what appears to be in the child’s best interests.

FACILITATOR

The CASA expedites placement of the child in a safe permanent home on a timely basis. Encourages appropriate service delivery to meet the child’s needs. Engages collaboration among relevant participants, fostering the child’s best interests.

MONITOR

The CASA continues to report the child’s situation during the duration of the case, ensuring that court-ordered services are being provided. The CASA encourages the system to handle the cases in a sensitive and expedient manner, which will result in the child’s placement in a safe, permanent home.