CASA is an acronym for Court Appointed Special Advocates. It is a non-profit organization that trains volunteers to represent the best interest of an abused or neglected child for whom a place is decided by the court. When a child is removed from their original home by Child Protective Services, a CASA volunteer becomes assigned to the case and observes and reports what is in the best interest of the child.
The Mineral County Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program provides trained supervised community volunteers, who advocate on behalf of abused and neglected children in the Mineral County 21st Circuit Courts, to ensure permanency and safety is achieved.
The first ever CASA program was created in 1977 by David W. Soukup, King County Superior Court Judge in Seattle, Washington. He created the program because he often felt as if he was not getting all the facts in cases involving abuse and neglect and therefore felt unable to make well-informed decisions about the futures of the children in the cases he heard. Even though guardian ad litems (attorneys that legally represent the children in these cases) were appointed, they lacked the time and specialized training to conduct an in-depth investigation required for abuse and neglect cases. Social workers had too little time to devote to each child. In court, there were attorneys to represent the interests of the parents and the state. Yet the child, whose future hinged on the outcome, was without a voice. The volunteers that stepped forward to become these children’s voices proved to be effective advocates.
Mineral County CASA began its journey in January 2005, with the programs first Volunteers being sworn in by the Judges in January of 2010. Currently the children we serve range from newborns to pre-adolescents.
In the past, judges often have had to base their decisions on child placement with insufficient information. CASA volunteers provide judges and all parties involved with information about the child and the circumstances of the case. Child welfare workers and attorneys are often overburdened with tremendous caseloads and don’t have the necessary time to really get to the know the children. A CASA volunteer can be a consistent figure in the child’s life - - a figure that represents what’s best for the child. This consistency provided by the CASA volunteer can make a huge positive impact on a child’s life.
Although the judge has the final ruling, a CASA volunteer makes a recommendation based on the observations he or she makes during the period in which the case is open.
Contact Mineral County CASA by calling (304)788-0068.
Mineral County CASA
(Court Appointed Special Advocates)
Keyser, WV 26726