The Bergen CASA Bulletin: 1st Quarter 2022

Who is a CASA?

Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASAs, are your neighbor, friend, or family member, they come from all walks of life. They can be teachers, lawyers, doctors, experienced parents, or just straight forward, caring people.   

CASAs change a child's story through advocacy

A CASA is a trained volunteer appointed by a Family Court Judge to the case of a child or siblings who are in foster care. The Advocate’s purpose is to assure that a foster child’s needs are met (dental treatment, tutoring, therapy, etc.) as well as helping the Family Court Judge make decisions about the best permanency plan. At a minimum, Advocates are expected to commit to a child for two years but often a case can last longer. CASAs must be flexible, to participate in confidential calls, attend meetings and court during the day, all on their appointed child’s behalf. The CASA is responsible for gathering information by regularly speaking to the foster child (monthly) and anyone who impacts the child’s life: therapists, doctors, schoolteachers, foster parents, biological parents, case workers, etc. The Advocate provides the Family Court Judge with a status report including all the objective information collected, every time the case is reviewed in court.

In the last two years we established an Advocate Mentor program, where experienced Advocates work alongside new CACAs for their first six months. This helps new Advocates with their initial visits and outreach, while also providing them with guidance on writing their court reports and learning court protocols. 

CASAs care. To be an Advocate you must have a big heart and the willingness to make a commitment to a foster child who needs you.