Louisiana Supreme Court - 400 Royal St., New Orleans, LA 70130 | Tel: 504-310-2300 Hon. Bernette J. Johnson. Chief Justice.  John Tarlton Olivier., Clerk of Court.  Sandra A. Vujnovich. Judicial Administrator
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 Children and Families -- Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)

The CASA program is under the fiscal and programmatic administration of the Supreme Court. The special advocate program is an essential component in Louisiana's ability to maintain family safety and stability, particularly considering the compressed ASFA time frames for permanency. Upon appointment by a court of proper jurisdiction, CASA serves the community of abused, neglected and at-risk children referred by the judge, the case manager, foster parents, or others involved in the case. Because CASA advocates take only one or two cases at a time, they focus on a very small number of children, ensuring their safety and welfare until the case is closed. CASA advocates serve as catalysts who can make sure that they have mobilized all available resources for a child, that family members are complying with case plans and participating in mandated services, that they have addressed any roadblocks to permanence, and that the child remains safe whether in a foster home, a relative placement or returned home. CASA is unique within the Child in Need of Care system, in that it functions as a neutral nonparty advocate for the best interests of individual children assigned to them by the courts.

• Effective CASA advocacy requires funding, although the advocates are not paid. Funding is essential if programs are to meet the requirements of the law and of state and national CASA standards. Funds are needed for such mandated activities as community education, recruitment of local advocates, screening, training, supervision, monitoring, and continuing education. Funds are also needed for communication costs (phone, mail, fax, computers), transportation costs (mileage, meals, tolls, parking), office expenses (paper, pens, copying costs, etc.), and miscellaneous expenses particular to the individual child served.

• The purpose and processes of CASA are subject to the provisions of Louisiana law. See Louisiana Children’s Code, arts. 424-424.10.

• The role of CASA is to enhance family stability by facilitating linkages between the particular child/family and community resources/systems through trained, qualified and supervised advocates who provide skilled communication, necessary transportation, efficient and thorough information gathering, and such other services identified in an individual case.

During the 2004 Regular session, the Louisiana legislature allocated $3 million in TANF funding for the CASA programs statewide.

 

How can my parish/district get a CASA program?

To be recognized as a CASA program in Louisiana , and to be eligible for state (TANF) funding, a local program must be established in compliance with National CASA standards.  Compliance can be successfully achieved only with comprehensive community-based planning.  The judge(s) exercising juvenile jurisdiction must be interested and involved.   Key community stakeholders interested in abused and neglected children need to understand what CASA is and does and what the expectations of National CASA are, and then assess both the needs of the children and the available resources in their community.   Based on that assessment, this planning group can consider the options available and formulate a plan for implementation.   Application can then be made for provisional National CASA membership.   This formative community effort may take several months or longer but is critical to building an effective CASA program.   

 

CASA Assistance Program - Program Standards

CASA Assistance Program - Legal Framework

CASA in the Courtroom - The “Official” Role of CASA
Children’s Code article 424

 


For a map of Louisiana CASA programs statewide and a CASA program directory

For more information about National CASA

For more information about the CASA Assistance Program, contact:
Karen Hallstrom
Deputy Judicial Administrator for Children and Families
Louisiana Supreme Court
khallstrom@lasc.org
504-599-0770

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