CASA believes every child who's been abused or neglected deserves to have a dedicated advocate speaking up for their best interest in court, at school and in our community. To accomplish this, CASA educates and empowers diverse community volunteers who ensure each child's needs remain a priority in an over-burdened child welfare system. When the state steps in to protect a child's safety because the people responsible for protecting them have not, a judge appoints a trained CASA volunteer to make independent and informed recommendations and help the judge decide what's best for the child.
For children who've been abused or neglected, CASA means having a home instead of feeling lost, and being a priority instead of feeling invisible. For volunteers, CASA is a life-changing experience that makes our community a better place.
CASA volunteers come from every walk of life and share a commitment to improving children's lives, a willingness to learn, and an open mind towards life experiences different from their own. Volunteers complete an interview, background checks and 30 hours of intensive training. After being sworn-in by a judge, volunteers are appointed to a child or family of children and spend an average of 15-20 hours a month advocating for these children for at least a year. They get to know the child while also gathering information from the child's family, teachers, doctors, care-givers and anyone else involved in the child's life. Judges highly value CASA's recommendations which help them make informed decisions in the child's best interest.
The national CASA model was created by a Seattle family court judge in 1977. From that first program has grown a network of more than 955 CASA and guardian ad litem programs in 49 states. CASA of Travis County was founded in 1985 and supports more than 550 volunteers who advocate for at least 1,500 children a year. CASA of Williamson County was founded in 2009 with just 10 volunteers and, like Williamson County itself, has grown exponentially. They are rapidly closing in on their goal of 100 volunteers in 2013 to advocate for the rising number of children in care in Williamson County.