Each year in the U.S., more than 3 million children enter the foster care system due to abuse and/or neglect through no fault of their own. In Sarpy County alone, more than 200 children find themselves entangled in the foster care system. Many of these children become trapped in a revolving door of foster parents, caseworkers, attorneys, and judges. For these children, a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) can make a huge difference.
A CASA is a trained, citizen volunteer appointed by the Juvenile Court of Sarpy County to ensure that the needs and best interests of the CASA’s assigned child or sibling group are met.
(Note: The sequel to Removed is located on the Bellevue Family Visitation Center page.)
A CASA conducts an independent assessment of the child’s situation by visiting with the child regularly and speaking to important individuals in the child’s life, including foster parents, biological parents, therapists, and teachers. The CASA then prepares reports for the court, which include the CASA’s recommendations for the best interest of the child, based on the information gathered by the CASA.
Most importantly, the CASA develops a relationship with the child, offering support, a listening ear, and consistency to a child entangled in a system that tends to offer a child anything but consistency.
We know that the CASA model works! Research shows that a child with a CASA volunteer spends significantly less time in foster care than a child without a CASA. In addition, once a child with a CASA leaves the system, he or she is half as likely to re-enter foster care.
At Sarpy County CASA, our goal is to put a CASA volunteer into the life of every child who enters our system. While our program includes over 100 volunteers, dozens of children are still waiting for a CASA. Please consider volunteering and becoming a powerful friend and advocate to one of these vulnerable children.