Each year in Georgia thousands of children are thrust into court through no fault of their own. Some are victims of violence, psychological torment or sexual abuse. Others have been neglected or abandoned by their own parents. Most are frightened and confused. Often these children also become victims of the overburdened child welfare system – a complex legal network of lawyers, social workers and judges who frequently are too overworked to give thorough, detailed attention to each child who comes before them. Every month more than 19,000 Georgia children are in the legal custody of the state. In Clayton County alone, 1,443 Child Protective Services investigations were conducted in 2007. From these investigations, 530 children went through the system, 42% of which were under the age of 3. There are approximately 300 children in DFCS custody right here in Clayton County.
What is a CASA Volunteer? After completing 40 hours of classroom training, CASA volunteers are appointed by a judge to provide an independent voice for abused and neglected children who are brought into the court. They work to learn about the child’s needs and make recommendations that will help the judge make far-reaching decisions that affect the child’s future. The CASA volunteer remains involved to keep the focus on the child until he or she is placed in a safe, permanent home – no matter how long it takes! The Ultimate Goal of CASA is to ensure every child has a safe, nurturing, permanent home as quickly as possible by: 1) Advocating for a child from the beginning of the case until placement in a safe permanent home; 2) Attending all legal proceedings; 3) Assessing all the facts of the case; and 4) Making recommendations in the child’s best interest. Click here for more information on the important role of our volunteers.