Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Brown County is a nonprofit organization that for 13 years has provided a voice for abused and neglected children who are under the legal protection of the court system. The organization relies heavily on volunteers who are supported by CASA staff. Volunteers are referred to as the “eyes and ears of the court” and are often the only consistent adult in a child’s life while in the protection of the court.
CASA volunteers receive 30 hours of training before being sworn in by the court. A CASA volunteer visits the child weekly and submits a monthly report to the judge on the child’s safety and well-being to help that judge make important decisions on the child’s future.
During their visits, CASA volunteers play games and make crafts or engage in sensory activities with the children in effort to build trust and relationships. Research has shown that a child with a CASA volunteer is more likely to get help with other services, spend less time in foster care and be moved from home to home, find a safe and permanent home and do better in school.
Deb Rose, a CASA volunteer of four years, recalls the progression of a child. “I visited this young child first in a foster home, daycare, school and finally at a home with a parent, which is ultimately the desired outcome.” She went on to say, “Volunteering with CASA is a deeply humbling way to connect and serve the community.”
In 2016, CASA of Brown County reported having 136 volunteers who served 245 children. Also in 2016, CASA of Brown County expanded services to Marinette County, about an hour north of Green Bay, WI, which currently has 21 volunteers who have served 32 children. A concert is set for December 2 to raise funds to help support the Marinette County CASA Program.
To learn about how to become a CASA volunteer or to provide support, visit www.casabc.org. CASA of Brown County is affiliated with the National CASA Association. To find a CASA program near you, visit www.casaforchildren.org.