Dallas CASA - Court-Appointed Special Advocates

     Imagine being a child that is neglected, abused and then placed in the hands of strangers in a court system. In the foster care system, a child may move from one temporary foster home to another. The process to determine a permanent home for a child is a long process. Thousands of children live through that reality here in Dallas. Dallas CASA serves as a structure of comfort and stability for many of these children who are going through a tumultuous time in their lives.

     In 1997, a Seattle superior court judge founded Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) when he realized that the children needed focused attention that would lead to accurate information in his court before decisions are made on behalf of the children. In 1979, Dallas CASA was established by the National Council of Jewish Women and is a charter member of the National Court Appointed Special Advocates Association and Texas CASA. Dallas CASA volunteers are judge appointed and are to advocate in the best interests of children. The volunteers ensure these children are placed in safe and stable homes with the resources to become functional and successful adults. Dallas CASA helped thousands of children find such homes.[1]

     Dallas CASA volunteers are the advocates for abused and neglected children that are placed in the care of the courts. CASA volunteers are trained to gather information about their court-appointed child to help inform the judge responsible for making complex decisions that is best for the child. These volunteers get to know the child and everyone in that child’s life, including social workers, attorneys, judges, and family. The insights gathered from the child’s life is used to ensure that the child is placed in a safe and permanent home that can lead to the child’s success in the future.[2] The children in need of a CASA volunteer are often victims of physical and sexual abuse, abandonment, and neglect. Child Protective Services remove these children from their home, school, family, and everything familiar to them. Many people try to help, however, CASA volunteers are often the only consistent and vital part of the process on behalf of the child.[3]

     As advocates CASA volunteer assist the child to access services that help them heal from the abuse and neglect they had endured. For many of these children, their appointed volunteer is the only reliable and constant adult in their life. The relationship between child and volunteer is often critical for the child as the volunteer’s presence makes an impact on their life. Such a responsibility requires training. Initially CASA volunteers receive 30 hours of training and a further 12 hours of training each year. Furthermore, these volunteers work hand in hand with a staff supervisor who provides the volunteer with guidance throughout the court process. Volunteers must also be 21 years old or older, undergo a background check, and complete a personal interview. Volunteers must be willingly to give fifteen to twenty hours a month towards this work as well as their presence in court hearings. There is always a demand for CASA volunteers by court judges, however, there are not enough volunteers for all the children in need.[4]

     The Dallas CASA’s ambition is captured in their vision statement: “We envision a day when all child victims of abuse and neglect can grow up in safe and nurturing homes where they can reach their full potential”.[5] The organization can be contacted by phone: 214-827-8961. Dallas CASA headquarters is located at 2757 Swiss Avenue Dallas, Texas 75204.[6]

Dallas CASA defends the rights of children as outlined in the Articles 22-27, specifically Article 25, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.[7]

 

 

FOOTNOTES

[1] “About Dallas CASA.” Dallas CASA, February 10, 2021. https://www.dallascasa.org/about-us/about-dallas-casa/ (accessed March 30, 2021).

[2] “How We Help.” Dallas CASA, February 10, 2021. https://www.dallascasa.org/about-us/how-we-help/ (accessed March 30,2021).

[3] “Our Children.” Dallas CASA, February 10, 2021. https://www.dallascasa.org/about-us/our-children/ (accessed March 30,2021).

[4] “What Is a Volunteer Advocate.” Dallas CASA, February 12, 2021. https://www.dallascasa.org/how-to-volunteer/what-is-a-volunteer-advocate/ (accessed March 30,2021).

[5] “About Dallas CASA.” Dallas CASA, February 10, 2021. https://www.dallascasa.org/about-us/about-dallas-casa/ (accessed March 30, 2021).

[6] “Contact Us.” Dallas CASA, February 10, 2021. https://www.dallascasa.org/about-us/contact-us/ (accessed March 30, 2021).

[7] United Nations. 1948. “Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” United Nations. 1948. https://www.un.org/en/about-us/universal-declaration-of-human-rights  (accessed March 30, 2021).

BIBLIOGRAPHY

“About Dallas CASA.” Dallas CASA, February 10, 2021. https://www.dallascasa.org/about-us/about-dallas-casa/

“Contact Us.” Dallas CASA, February 10, 2021. https://www.dallascasa.org/about-us/contact-us/.

“How We Help.” Dallas CASA, February 10, 2021. https://www.dallascasa.org/about-us/how-we-help/.

“Our Children.” Dallas CASA, February 10, 2021. https://www.dallascasa.org/about-us/our-children/.

United Nations. 1948. “Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” United Nations. United Nations. 1948. https://www.un.org/en/about-us/universal-declaration-of-human-rights.

“What Is a Volunteer Advocate.” Dallas CASA, February 12, 2021. https://www.dallascasa.org/how-to-volunteer/what-is-a-volunteer-advocate/.

 

Images

Dallas CASA

Dallas CASA

Source: Rosanne Lewis, the Dallas CASA Media & website inquiries coordinator View File Details Page

Official Website:

https://www.dallascasa.org/

Cite this Page:

Abby Rodriguez, “Dallas CASA - Court-Appointed Special Advocates,” Human Rights Dallas Maps, accessed October 26, 2021, http://humanrightsdallasmaps.com/items/show/31.

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