Organizational Structure Board of Supervisors Executive Director Marketing Coordinator Program Manager Senior Advocate Supervisor Recruiting Specialist Advocate Supervisor Advocate Supervisor Advocate Supervisor Advocate Supervisor Administrative Assistant Program Assistant
Community Context CASA of Fresno and Madera counties is a community based non-profit organization. This organization relies on community members and their willingness to volunteer their time as an advocate. Volunteers from Fresno and Madera counties come from all walks of life. They are not necessarily involved in the child welfare system. They are people with a desire to help abused children.
Community Context cont… As a non-profit organization CASA relies on donations Donations are used to support CASA volunteers in their efforts to help some of the most vulnerable children. Some CASA founders are: First 5 Fresno County Judicial Council of California Garabedian foundation
History The CASA movement began in 1977 when a Seattle superior judge named David Soukup was concerned about trying to make decisions on behalf of abused and neglected children without enough information. He expressed his desire to appoint community volunteers to speak up for the best interests of these children in court. He made a request and 50 citizens responded and began the CASA movement.
VOLUNTEER CASA volunteers are appointed by a judge to recommend the best possible outcome for an abused or neglected child’s future. Whether this means helping to make a connection with adoptive parents or safely reuniting the child with parents or relatives, the ultimate goal of the CASA volunteer is to help ensure that every one of these kids can live in a safe, permanent home.
Those In Need There are more than 500,000 children in foster care in the United States of America. California is the home of 13% of the nation’s children, but 19% of its children are foster care children. In Fresno, the population of its children is over 250,000 and over 3,000 of them are in foster care. CASA has over 100 volunteers representing over 300 abuse and neglected foster care children in Fresno and Madera Counties.
Agency’s Mission CASA is a 501(c) 3 community based non-profit organization whose mission is to provide community members to serve as advocates for abused and neglected children in child welfare and juvenile court system. In order to accomplish CASA’S mission statement community members are recruited and trained by professionals with the tools needed to advocate for abuse and neglected children. There is an application process that must be completed before a community member can become a CASA.
Agency Practice A CASA program recruits potential volunteers A CASA program must screen potential CASA volunteers A written application Security check that includes fingerprinting, driving record, or other records of conduct Three completed references A personal interview by the program Once the application process is done a CASA advocate attends a 40-hour training. Once the training is completed they are officially officers of the court. Once an advocate is sworn in he or she is assigned a case and an advocate supervisor. An advocate supervisor guides an advocate through their case. A CASA program offers continuation classes so advocates can be aware of the latest information
Significance Volunteers present their recommendations to the court as to what they feel is best for the child. Judges rely heavily on this testimony to make an informed decision on the child’s future. Social Work values are reflected in this agency such as social justice. Advocates pursue change for abuse and neglected children. They strive to ensure access to needed information, services, resources, and equality of opportunity for foster children.
Significance Cont... Dignity and worth of a person is also value within the agency. Advocates must be mindful of individual differences and cultural and ethnic diversity. Children in foster care are do walk into the system with their own diversity. A CASA advocate must keep this in mind when advocating for a child. Foster Care children deserve to have a family and specially a family that can provide shelter, food, and clothing. When an advocate is speaking in behalf of a child they are advocating for their human rights to be taken into consideration. The advocate always wants the what is in the best interest of the child and that includes a child’s human rights.