The Advocate: 4th Quarter 2022

Rutger study affirms CASA value

The results of a  five year-long study by Rutgers University provided a strong endorsement of the valuable contributions made by CASA. In collaboration with NJ CASA, the comprehensive research included interviews with judges, youth, advocates, and program staff as well as analyzing court and Optima reports. The following are some highlights: 

Overall judges were extremely positive about CASA:

  • 100% of the participating judges said that the court is better served because of CASA
  • 95% of the Judges said that the type and quality of information that CASA provides is beneficial to their decision making
  • 98% of judges said that children and families were better served because of CASA involvement

Sample feedback from advocates and foster children served by CASAs:

  • They felt cared for because they knew their CASA was a volunteer and was not paid to be there.
  • “CASA listens when not everyone else does.”
  • “I found that CASA worked well with the Division and all stakeholders. They were an objective voice and their commonsense approach assisted me in many cases in a variety of issues.”

The study also offered recommendations that will be reviewed and implemented based on the circumstances of each of the NJ CASA affiliates.

Advocates also gave valuable feedback:

  • It was found that there was a high level of motivation and satisfaction within the CASA program.
  • Respondents said CASA leaders, staff, and advocates are making a difference in the outcomes of children and youth.
  • “I think that’s the best gift a CASA (volunteer) gives is continued, dependable presence, not just physically showing up, but, you know, actually…being there for the child.”
  • “We’re the ones who have the global perspective…Our job is to find the good, the bad, the indifferent.”
NJ Dept of Children and Families