Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)

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Program Description

Welcome to the Amador County Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program. A CASA volunteer is trained to be a child’s advocate and is appointed by the Juvenile Court Judge to speak for the best interest of children appearing in court for reasons of abuse, neglect, or delinquency. The CASA is an official part of the judicial proceedings with the responsibility of providing the Court with information about the child to which they have been assigned. The program is dedicated to the premise that all children are entitled to grow up in a safe and loving home. Important characteristics of a successful CASA volunteer are that they are concerned, sensitive, dedicated, and willing to become an important part of a child’s life. We are always eager to talk with people interested in helping children. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns. Should you be ready to start the application process, you may complete the Application and Authority to Release Information forms below.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of dependency law?
a. Provide for the protection of children who are currently being physically, sexually, or emotionally abused / neglected, and to ensure the safety, protection, physical and emotional well being of children who are at risk of that harm. (Welfare & Institutions Code Section 300.2)
b. To preserve and strengthen the minor’s family ties whenever possible, removing the minor from the custody of his or her parents only when necessary for his or her welfare or the safety and protection of the public (Welfare & Institutions Code Sections 202,300.3, 361.5 (a))

What is a CASA volunteer?
A Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteer is a trained citizen who is appointed by a judge to represent the best interests of a child in court. The CASA becomes an appointed Officer of the Court. An average caseload is one to two children.

What is the CASA volunteer’s role?
To provide a judge with a carefully researched background of the child in order to help the court make a sound decision about that child’s future. The CASA volunteer must determine if it is in a child’s best interest to stay with his or her parents or guardians, be placed in foster care, or be freed for adoption. The CASA volunteer follows through on the case until it is permanently resolved.

How does a CASA volunteer investigate a case?
To prepare a recommendation, the CASA volunteer talks with the child, parents, family members, social workers, foster parents, attorneys, school officials, health providers and others who are knowledgeable about the child’s history. They also review all records pertaining to the child, including school, medical, and social worker reports and other documents.

How does the CASA volunteer relate to the child he or she represents?
CASA volunteers offer children trust and advocacy during complex legal proceedings. They provide the child with support and remain a stable relationship through placement changes. CASA volunteers also encourage the child to express his or her own opinion and hopes, while remaining objective observers.

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Forms

CASA Application Form
CASA Authority to Release Information

Contact

Lori Halvorson
(209) 223-1485, Ext 242
lhalvorson@atcaa.org
935 S. Hwy 49, Jackson, CA

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