FAQs

faqpictureIs my donation tax deductible?
CASA Ogeechee is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your gifts are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.

What does CASA stand for?
CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate. CASAs are screened and trained volunteers appointed by the Juvenile Court Judge to advocate for children in the foster care system. The work of CASA volunteers is authorized and regulated by Georgia law and standards established by the National CASA Association.

 

 

What qualifications does a CASA volunteer advocate need?
CASA advocates are people who want to help abused and neglected children. They must be at least 21 years of age and have a genuine concern for children. Advocates come from all walks of life and are all ages. The ability to make at least one year’s commitment to the child and an ability to assess a child’s needs.

How often are the pre-Service trainings held?
The Pre-Service CASA Training is held two to four times per year.

At what point are CASA trainees sworn in as official CASAs?
CASAs are required to participate in 30 hours of pre-service training and 10 hours of courtroom observation. They must also pass local, FBI and GBI background and personal reference checks. If they complete and pass all requirements, trainees will be sworn in by a juvenile court judge during the CASA graduation ceremony. A Judge will read the CASA Volunteer Oath, which the CASAs repeat. After the ceremony, the CASA trainees become official CASA volunteers and begin their journey to make a difference in the life of a child.

How is a CASA assigned to a case?
Children come into care of the Department of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS) when a DFCS caseworker demonstrates to the court that negligence/abuse occurred by a caretaker. Children do NOT come into custody by any fault of their own. They are innocent. A CASA is generally appointed during the Preliminary Protective Hearing, also known as a 72-hour hearing (a hearing that must take place within 72 hours of a child’s removal). The court will call CASA and request that a CASA Volunteer be present at this hearing and subsequently assigned to the case. CASA will decide which CASA Volunteer will be appointed to the case according to availability and other factors. Sometimes a foster parent, attorney or case worker will request a CASA Volunteer be appointed to a particular case. Occasionally, during visits, another child in a foster home will ask a CASA Volunteer to be appointed to them as well. Under these special circumstances, the CASA Program Director will speak with the Judge and at the Judge’s discretion a CASA Volunteer may be appointed.

What kind of support is available to CASAs after they accept a case?
The CASA Program Director and Volunteer Coordinator are available via telephone, e-mail and in person. She will also accompany CASAs on home visits and social service meetings/reviews when requested. Georgia CASA, National CASA, and Ogeechee CASA offer In-Service trainings and peer group meetings where training groups have the chance to reunite and support one another.

I’m interested! What is my first step?
Request, complete and submit a volunteer application by email to joincasa@gmail.com.

Child Abuse and Neglect in Georgia

CASA Ogeechee
• One of the worst states in the nation for child abuse & neglect
• Every fifteen minutes, a child is the victim of abuse in Georgia.
• Every day, 59 children are victims of confirmed child abuse or neglect.
• Over 250 incidents of child abuse and neglect are reported daily.
• Sixty-four (64) children died from abuse and neglect in 2006.
• Almost 13,000 children are in the legal custody of the state, at any one time

CASA & The Law

Federal law requires that a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) or a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) or both be appointed in all cases of child abuse or neglect.

Georgia law includes “court appointed special advocates” and/or attorneys as Guardian ad Litems for children in juvenile court deprivation proceedings.

A CASA Story

Severe dehydration, malnourishment, multiple bruises, kidney failure, liver failure, a skull fracture - this was the emergency room diagnosis of a 2-year-old, 15 pound boy. The child had been living with his birth father, a stepmother and her daughter.

Shortly after a CASA was appointed the case, the stepmother was murdered. Determined to find the little boy a real home, the CASA volunteer sought out his birth mother, thought to have abandoned her son. In fact, she lived in a shelter nearby. The mother explained that her ex-husband had beaten her and warned her to stay away from the child; she also had a drug problem, but with assistance, was able to comply with court-ordered treatment and gain conditional custody of her son.

With the advocacy of the CASA volunteer, the child received special therapy. The mother, now drug-free and attending AA meetings and college classes is attempting to regain permanent custody of her son, who is flourishing.