The mission of Chesterfield CASA is to promote safe, permanent homes for abused and neglected children by providing trained volunteers to advocate for them throughout their involvement in the juvenile court process.
Last year 71 Chesterfield CASA volunteers spent more than 6,300
hours advocating for 195 child victims. Each of these volunteers worked to help
abused and neglected children find loving homes where they could thrive. Of the
total children served, 83 were in foster care/removed from their homes and
averaged three different placements while receiving CASA’s services. To some
extent, this indicated the complex issues inherent to many of our assigned
cases. CASA volunteers attended 259 hearings during the year and submitted 129
reports to the Court. Within these reports, 374 (93%) of the 398
recommendations considered by the judges were ordered, revealing the Court’s
strong confidence in CASA’s information and opinions. During the year, 106
children were closed to the program; each was served by CASA an average of 13
months, which shows the long-term commitment required of our volunteers. During the year we also trained 18 new volunteer
advocates who can help continue our work of changing lives of hurt into stories
Chesterfield CASA, Inc., the Court Appointed Special Advocates program, was formed to provide trained community volunteers to serve as advocates for children alleged to be abused, neglected and/or abandoned. The program recruits and prepares volunteers to advocate for child victims whose circumstances have risen to the level of risk which requires a juvenile court intervention.
Chesterfield CASA was initiated in July of 1996 as a collaborative community initiative. The organizing committee consisted of the juvenile court judges, representatives from the local Community Service Board, the Department of Social Services, the Chesterfield County Police Department, a school board member, a private attorney, a private therapist, a local bank officer, and a group of concerned citizens.
Their concern focused on the rising number of cases involving child abuse and neglect brought to the attention of the courts and social services in our community. They felt a CASA program would be an appropriate response to increasing numbers of abuse and neglect cases, overburdened social service caseloads, and an ever-increasing need for representation in child abuse cases.
The primary goal of the program is to use trained volunteer advocates to work towards finding safe, permanent homes and treatment services for victims of child abuse. To that end, Chesterfield CASA, Inc. was formed as a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization.
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.
3. CASA volunteers will advocate for timely permanent placements in child abuse and neglect cases through case monitoring, agency collaboration, and recommendations included in the reports that are submitted to the Court. As a measure of this success, 85% of children who have been removed from their homes will have a permanent plan approved within 12 months from their dispositional hearing.
Chesterfield CASA helps break the cycle of abuse for children who are under court protection. CASA volunteers advocate for and monitor services that meet the physical, medical, educational, and emotional needs of child victims. Children cannot grow and thrive if their daily life involves physical abuse, lack of food or clothing, abandonment, or sexual trauma.
CASA's advocacy efforts also have a large-scale impact on the community. Research has shown that child victims are more likely to experience behavior disorders, school problems, juvenile delinquency, depression, and drug/alcohol abuse. CASA volunteers recommend services that mitigate the recognized effects of child maltreatment. Ultimately, CASA's work helps ensure that no child is re-victimized. Funding to protect children from victimization is money well-spent, since this expenditure improves the quality of life for children and fosters improved family conditions and healthy communities.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
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