Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)

Giving a voice to children alone in the foster care system

The Problem

On any given day, there are over 400,000 youth in foster care nationwide. While foster care programs are administered at the county level in most states, the pattern of interactions and consequences is distressingly consistent across the country:

  • 84% of foster youth become young parents.
  • 30% of foster teen boys will be incarcerated before age 21.
  • 25% of foster youth suffer from PTSD – a rate comparable to military war veterans.
  • Only 50% will complete high school or obtain a GED.
  • Less than 3% will go on to earn a college degree.

How it works

CASAs are often the only ones to assemble a firsthand understanding of the situation and needs of the child as a prelude to making informed recommendations to the court. For many abused and neglected children, a CASA volunteer is the only constant adult presence in their lives. Recruitment standards, time commitments, and training for CASAs are rigorous. Training addresses child abuse and neglect, family dynamics, child rearing styles, juvenile justice legal procedures, and foster care placement.