Goochland CASA advocates within the Juvenile Court system for the best interest of abused and neglected children guided by the belief that every child is entitled to a safe and permanent home.
What is CASA?
Goochland CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) is a member of a network of 951 community-based programs that recruit, train and support citizen-volunteers. These volunteers advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in courtrooms and communities. Volunteer advocates, empowered directly by the courts, offer judges the critical information they need to ensure that each child’s rights and needs are being attended to while in foster care. Volunteers stay with children until they are placed in loving permanent homes. For many abused children, a CASA volunteer is the only constant adult presence in their lives.
Goochland CASA started in 2005 with three volunteers. Goochland CASA now has 24 volunteers who serve between 60-70 children annually. Each volunteer completes a comprehensive training program before being sworn in by the judge. CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate. CASAs are trained volunteers appointed by the judge to help determine what is in the child’s best interest by finding out as much information as possible about the child, their circumstances and placement options. The CASA volunteer remains with the case until the child is in a safe and permanent home with hope for a positive future.
History of CASA
The CASA program started in 1976 when a judge in Seattle, Washington became concerned over making life-changing decisions about neglected and abused children without sufficient information. He conceived the idea of using trained community volunteers to speak for the best interest of those children. Because of its success, the U.S. Congress encouraged the expansion of CASA by passing the Victims of Child Abuse Act in 1990. Today more than 1,000 CASA programs are in operation with trained men and women serving as CASA volunteers.