In response to your April 30 editorial “Prevent child abuse”: In 37 of Ohio’s counties, including Lucas County, many abused and neglected children have Court Appointed Special Advocates to speak for them.
CASA programs started in Washington state in 1977. Advocates are community volunteers, extensively trained and appointed by a local juvenile court judge, to speak for the best interests of children who have been removed from their homes for their safety. CASA researches the child’s life, makes recommendations to the court, and monitors the child’s progress and services.
Research indicates that children paired with a CASA volunteer receive more services, are likely to experience fewer placement changes, are involved in the court system for a shorter period of time, and are more likely to be placed in a safe home when removal from the biological home is necessary.
In 2013, 7,591 children in Ohio were served by 2,171 CASA volunteers. In Lucas County, 663 children were served by 220 volunteers.
Lucas County CASA was the third program created nationwide and has been serving children since 1980. There are CASA programs in many of our neighboring counties.
Unfortunately, more than 16,000 new abuse and neglect cases are filed in Ohio’s juvenile courts every year. Obviously, not all children who need a voice are receiving one. In Lucas County, only 42 percent of children in need of a CASA volunteer have one. There aren’t enough volunteers.
Not every case that is assigned to a CASA volunteer has a happy ending, but many of them do. CASA is a proven, successful tool for some of our community’s most needy families.
To learn more or to become a CASA volunteer, contact Lucas County CASA at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 419-213-6753, or visit casakids.net. You can make a difference.
CASA Advisory Board