Each day in Franklin County, innocent children are removed from their homes when their parents fail to protect and care for them. These abused and neglected children are placed under the custody of the courts for their own protection but they are still at risk. The disruption of their everyday lives can have a devastating effect.
- Research shows that abused children are more likely to be arrested than other children
- Approximately 40% of children in foster care drop out of high school.
CASA of Franklin County’s mission is to provide a powerful and consistent voice in court for the innocent child victims of abuse and neglect. CASA of Franklin County’s vision is to ensure that every abused and neglected child has a voice in court in order to make a positive impact on the child and community. CASA of Franklin County advocates for abused and neglected children by providing them with a voice in the juvenile court system. CASA recruits, screens, trains and supports community volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children.
In 1977, a Seattle Juvenile Court Judge found himself faced with making life changing placement decisions about children he knew very little about. He never felt confident he had their entire story, and was deeply concerned about what might happen if he made the “wrong” decision. Out of this concern grew the idea for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates). CASA of Franklin County was founded in 1991 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, volunteer based program and has steadily grown. Today, approximately 300,000 children in 49 states are served by trained CASA volunteers.
Three children die daily in America at the hands of their caretakers. More than 100,000 cases of child abuse and neglect are reported in Ohio annually and Franklin County reports approximately 3300 children involved in abuse, neglect and dependency court proceedings each year. When a parent cannot, or will not provide for the safety of a child, the community must step in.
CASA provides the link between concerned community volunteers and the abused and neglected children in need of a powerful voice to speak up for their best interest. These volunteers are appointed by the court to help ensure that the children receive appropriate services and treatment by independently monitoring a child’s situation, identifying community resources and participating in the court process.
CASA volunteers must be 21 years of age, complete a 40 hour training and pass a thorough background check as they will be advocating for the most vulnerable among us, children in need. The role of a CASA volunteer is challenging and requires a combination of care, compassion, critical thinking, courage and commitment, but the rewards are tangible. Children are safer, with the hope of a positive future and the community is stronger.