Why CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates)?

Around the world, it is the responsibility of family to protect a child’s rights.  They are that child’s support system, and they put the needs, safety, and potential of that child first.  Always.

A family is supposed to raise that child within a culture, with beliefs and traditions and values.  Children are supposed to be guided and corrected in love, but when a family is unable to meet those obligations, then the child becomes part of a system.  Every two minutes, a child enters the foster care system in this country.  No matter how much we try, we have a volume and complexity of cases that overwhelm the system, and it is not realistic to think that each of those children will receive the attention that they need.

At any given time we have about 100 children in foster care in Orleans Parish. Each of their stories is unique and nuanced.  That is why CASA exists.  CASA is central to fulfilling society’s most fundamental obligation by making sure a qualified, compassionate adult will fight for and protect a child’s right to be safe, to be treated with dignity and respect and to learn and grow in the safe embrace of a loving family.   CASA stands for: Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children. Every Advocate is just a regular citizen like you. Volunteers, appointed by the courts, who have been trained in how to advocate for neglected and abused children in the foster care and family court systems. They are trained to assure the rights and needs of these children are at the forefront of decisions that are being made by judges and lawyers and family members.

Our children need to do more than simply survive. They need to thrive, in the safety and love of a family throughout their childhood and into adulthood.  At its heart, this is not merely an issue of abuse, or neglect, or a broken system, or overburdened workers, but of the unalienable rights of a child. It is a human rights issue. This is about ensuring that every child has the right to learn, and grow, and be treated with dignity and respect.  Society has a fundamental obligation to ensure the basic rights and needs of every child are met, and CASA volunteers are a formidable force that fight for these rights:

Fight until that child understands that he has a right to believe in himself. Fight, until she can understand and advocate for her own inalienable rights. To empower that child to live a life of destiny, rather than fate.

The mission of CASA is to provide trained community volunteers to advocate for the best interest of abused and neglected children in court.  Our goal is to ensure that every child has a safe, permanent, nurturing home.