Judicial survey shows CASA volunteers make a difference in a life of a child
A new survey states that judges rely heavily on the opinions of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) when hearing cases about abused and neglected children. “I am gratified but not surprised at the results,” said Ann Bookout, Executive Director of CASA 69. “CASA volunteers represent the best interest of foster children in court,” added Bookout. “CASA volunteers are everyday people that step forward to help judges make the very difficult decisions and speak up for the best interest of the child in court. The volunteers get to know the child and talk to everyone involved in that child’s life from doctors to teachers to parents.”
The survey, conducted by the University of Texas at Austin, showed 94% of all the judges surveyed said when CASA is involved the odds of a positive outcome for these children go up. Ninety-seven percent of the judges said the personal knowledge that CASA brings to the legal processing helps their decision making.
To facilitate their effectiveness in decisions made by the court, eleven CASA volunteers from the local CASA 69 program, recently attended the National CASA Conference in Denver, Colorado. The three-day conference included over 70 workshops presented by professionals on a variety of issues that deal with abused and neglected children who end up in the court system. CASA volunteers were encouraged and challenged by several former foster children who spoke at the conference, telling of their own unique challenges and how their CASA volunteer had made a difference in their lives. Dr. Phil and Robin McGraw, who are avid supporters of the CASA program, were featured speakers at the conference.
Associate District Judge Phil Vanderpool, who hears CPS cases in Dallam, Hartley, and Sherman Counties, stated, “With CASA there is greater success at reaching what’s in the child’s best interest.”
Family Court at Law Judge Delwin McGee, who hears cases in Moore County, added, “The children of the 69th Judicial District are better off for the service CASA brings to a case.”
“Attending workshops and conferences like those offered by the National CASA Association help CASA volunteers to better serve the abused and neglected children in our area,” said Bookout. “Professional training is essential in helping volunteers as they make recommendations to the judges in our court system.”
For more information about CASA visit www.becomeacasa.org or contact CASA 69 at firstname.lastname@example.org.