Our CASA Mission
Court Appointed Special Advocates of Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren Counties (CASA SHaW) is a non-profit organization that trains and provides court-appointed volunteer advocates to speak up in court for the best interests of local children in the foster care system. We help children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect to find permanent, safe and nurturing homes and gain access to the essential services to which they are entitled. Our organization further provides resources, mentoring and programs to support the success of the youths we serve, as they transition to permanent homes and/or age out of the foster care system. CASA SHaW comprises professionals and trained volunteers who have been appointed by the NJ Family Court to speak out for children in need of advocates, throughout Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren counties.
CASA SHaW will provide a court-appointed special advocate (CASA) for every child in Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren Counties who needs a voice in the NJ Family Court system. We will fight to ensure that every child in our counties who has been removed from his or her home due to abuse or neglect can be safe, have a permanent home, and realize the opportunity to not merely survive but thrive.
CASA SHaW GOALS
100% foster children will receive advocates
100% foster children will be placed in safe homes
100% foster children will not return to foster care
HELP US MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN A FOSTER CHILD'S FUTURE
Every 35 seconds a child is abused or neglected. Many of these children end up in foster care
50% of children in foster care do not graduate high school or get a GED
12% of children in foster care end up homeless
40% of abused and neglected children are served by CASA SHaW
96.5% of children served by CASA SHaW do not return to foster care
Our CASA Children
Each year 500 children from Somerset, Hunterdon, and Warrren counties are thrust into the court system through no fault of their own.
These children have been victims of physical, sexual and/or psychological abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
CASA SHaW ensures these children have a voice in the court proceedings that determine their fates.
CASA SHaW works to ensure that every child is provided an opportunity to be placed into a safe, loving, and permanent home.
In 1977, a Seattle Superior Court Judge named David Soukup was concerned about trying to make decisions on behalf of abused and neglected children in foster care without enough information. He conceived the idea of appointing community volunteers to independently investigate the cases, make recommendations, and speak up in court about what was in the best interest of the child. He made a request for volunteers; 50 citizens responded and became the start of the CASA movement. News of the success of Judge Soukup’s experiment spread and CASA programs sprang up all over the United States. Currently there are over 1,000 CASA Programs throughout the United States and CASA volunteers have helped more than 2 million children find safe, permanent homes in which they can thrive.
Today CASA is a network of more than 950 programs in 49 states recruiting, training, and supporting volunteers to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children in the courtroom and other settings.
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) reports that children with a CASA Advocate aresubstantially less likely to spend time in long-term foster care and families with a CASA Advocate receive more services and cases where CASA is involved are more likely to be permanently closed, leading the OIG to conclude that "CASA is effective in identifying the needs of children and parents."