Advocacy for abused and neglected children
Chesterfield CASA promotes safe, permanent homes for abused and neglected children. CASA accomplishes this by providing trained volunteers to advocate for child victims whose circumstances have risen to the level of risk which requires juvenile court intervention. Every day in our community, children are thrust into the child welfare system through no fault of their own. Some are victims of violence, psychological torment, or sexual exploitation; others have been neglected or abandoned by their parents. Most are frightened and confused. These children can easily become re-victimized by the very system designed to protect their welfare. The complex network of lawyers, social workers, and judges charged with making decisions for these children is often too overburdened with cases and paperwork to give thorough, detailed attention to every child. This is why CASA volunteers are so important. Our volunteers have the time to focus only on the child’s needs. CASA’s effectiveness is reliant upon the ratio of volunteers to children; each volunteer is assigned no more than one or two cases at a time. With this small focus, the CASA can thoroughly explore the child’s circumstances by interviewing the child, family, physicians, attorneys, school personnel, and other service providers familiar with the case. The hallmark of CASA’s work is the written report provided to the juvenile court judge. Chesterfield CASA has established a reputation of presenting well-written reports that are based on exhaustive research. The information provided in the report is given careful consideration by the judge before he/she makes decisions which will affect the child’s safety and future development. Once these decisions are made, CASA remains on the case, monitoring compliance with court orders. The sooner a child is placed in a safe permanent home, the greater his/her chances of overcoming the past and becoming a healthy productive member of the community.