Because every child
HOW WE WORK
When a foster care case begins, the courtroom is crowded with a judge, a representative from a foster care agency, biological parents, family members, attorneys, other courtroom staff… and, of course, the child. Even though the child should be the priority in the room, the judges, caseworkers and service providers who determine the child’s future simply do not have adequate time to understand the specific needs of each and every child.
CASA understands the vital need for the child to have a voice in the courtroom – and that each child is an individual with unique needs. By speaking for the child, CASA ensures that the wishes and needs of the child are not overlooked by the many competing interests at play.
CASA’s combined team of licensed social workers and attorneys recruit, train, and supervise volunteer advocates, as they construct bridges between children and the services that they need to ensure they will not languish for years in care, bouncing from home to home. In New York, family court judges consistently seek out and rely on CASA to help them make important life-changing decisions for the city’s children. Advocates provide judges with detailed, fact-based court reports that include a holistic picture of the needs and life-circumstances of these children – to ensure that each family’s situation is truly evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
CASA-NYC is often called in to help with the most difficult and complex cases, ranging from physical or sexual abuse to children with severe mental or emotional disabilities.
No other organization exists to advocate in this way for New York City foster youth. By providing individualized attention and being involved in all aspects of the court’s proceedings, CASA advocates play an invaluable role in a foster child’s life.
Not only do CASA advocates take the time required to assess a child’s individualized needs and to work with the various adults involved, they also provide one-on-one attention to foster children, so that they are protected from further abuse and neglect, and begin to feel safe.
Ultimately, CASA-NYC strives to have children discharged from foster care and placed in safe, permanent homes as efficiently as possible.
In 2017, nearly 10,000 abused and neglected children were in the child welfare system in New York City. CASA Advocates served more than 1,000 of these children and youth.
More about CASA-NYC:
History of CASA
On the national level, CASA was founded in 1977 in Seattle by Judge David Soukup, who realized he was unable to make sound judgments during family court proceedings due to insufficient information. The burden placed on caseworkers – by large caseloads and missing information – often delayed permanency for children and impaired sound judicial decision making.
While the courts were bogged down, the children were consistently waiting — for homes, for safety… for family. With the hope of reducing the waiting, CASA was created to provide a volunteer advocate to act as a liaison between the court and the child.
Launched in 1979, CASA-NYC has grown from a single room in the Manhattan family courthouse to additional offices in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx with the ability to serve thousands of children in need in all five boroughs.
CASA NYC48 Wall Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10005 Phone: 212.334.4010