THE PROBLEM: OVERWHELMED COURTS

  • In 2018, 674 children were served in foster care in Berks County.

  • On average, a child will spend 2 years (20 months) in foster care.

  • Many foster children will change homes 3 or more times

THE SOLUTION: CITIZEN VOLUNTEERS

  • 1 CASA Staff member supports 30 volunteers that serve 75 children

  • One year of CASA advocacy costs less than 2 months in foster care

The Results: Brighter Futures

A child with a CASA volunteer is:

  • More likely to find a safe, permanent home

  • 50% less likely to re-enter the foster care system

  • More likely to succeed in school and less likely to be expelled


OUR MISSION

To provide a competent, responsible, and compassionate court-appointed community volunteer to advocate for each child who faces abuse, neglect, and/or abandonment; our goal, to restore their well-being and ensure the eminent right to a safe, nurturing, and permanent home.

OUR VISION: SERVING EVERY CHILD

We envision a safe and positive future for all children facing abuse and neglect to break the cycle through the provision of support to become healthy, empowered adults.

  • 41 CASA volunteers help change children’s lives every day in Berks County

  • 54 abused and neglected children had a CASA volunteer speaking up for their best interests

  • Over 500 children are waiting for a volunteer to be their champion this year


CASA/GAL ADVOCACY

CASA volunteers advocate for the best interests of children in Berks County who have experienced abuse and neglect.

  • LEARN all you can about the child and his or her family life

  • ENGAGE with the child during regular visits

  • SPEAK UP for the child’s best interests in court

  • COLLABORATE with others to ensure necessary services are provided and in the child’s best interest

  • REPORT what you have learned and observed to the court

What’s the difference between a CASA volunteer and a GAL volunteer?

  • A Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer represents the child's interest in the court. He or She receives 30 hours of training, is sworn into duty by a judge in Berks County Courts and has the power, granted by the judge, to review any and all documents pertaining to the child, such as medical records, caseworker records, school records, etc.

  • GAL or Guardian Ad Litem is a lawyer who is hired by Berks County Courts to be the child's legal representative

  • Both advocate for the best interests of children in court as a result of abuse or neglect

Who are our volunteers? how are they prepared?

  • CASA volunteers are regular people, from all walks of life, who have been rigorously screened and trained extensively

  • Each volunteer receives more than 30 hours of training before they work with a child, with an additional 12 hours of continued education required annually

  • Volunteers receive ongoing support to help them advocate effectively on a child’s behalf

How are CASA/GAL volunteers different than social workers, attorneys and others working with children in court?

  • CASA volunteers are assigned to only one or two children or sibling groups at a time

  • Our volunteers stay involved on the case from the time of appointment until the child achieves permanency

  • CASA volunteers visit their assigned child/children twice a month, furthering their relationship with the child, observing their care and education, and listening to the child’s concerns.

  • CASA volunteers are specially trained to consider issues relevant to the best interests of the child, which may be different than the child’s wishes or the interests of other parties.