Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and the Family Court Advocate Program (FCAP) are child advocacy programs in which trained volunteers assist Family Court to secure safe, nurturing, and permanent homes for children in need.
Clients Served Last Year:
Funding Generously Provided by:
Unified Court System, I.O.L.A., and private donations.
In light of recent funding cuts to the CASA program, CASA seeks 100 community members (or companies) who care to donate $100 to help the program continue to run for the current fiscal year, or $250 to cover the current and subsequent fiscal years.
Elizabeth A. Matos, Esq.
Andrea Ramos-Topper, LMSW
Children are harmed by a parent or guardian who fails to provide a minimum degree of care, adequate education, and/or medical care. The Child Protective Services file hundreds of child neglect petitions in Family Court every year. Though without fault, these children are swept into family court. They may still be at home or temporarily placed with relatives or in foster care while the court and child welfare system sift through conflicting accounts and claims. Workloads are high, placing heavy burdens on these dedicated professionals.
Advocate for these children. Assist family courts in reaching best interest determinations so that these children may live in homes that are safe, nurturing, and provide the permanency children require for a wholesome life.
How We Do it:
EAC Network marshal’s assistance from the community to help. Working through formal agreements with the family courts, EAC Network train’s its volunteers in accordance with national standards. These volunteers can then be designated by the court as Court Appointed Special Advocates, also known as CASA.
Assigned by the Court to a case, CASA staff and volunteers devote the time necessary to gain a thorough understanding of the children, their families, the circumstances that brought them into court, and the resources that are needed. EAC Network’s CASA child advocates may meet with school officials, providers, attorneys, child welfare staff, and others directly involved with the child and the family. Our CASA child advocates strive to solve problems, improve collaboration, help access resources such as the Victims Assistance Program, and through written reports assist the court with its responsibility to place children in safe, nurturing, and permanent homes.
How You Can Help:
Make a Donation
Become a CASA Volunteer Today!
Do you want to help children and youth in foster care find loving homes where they can thrive? Are you 21 years old and able to commit at least five hours of weekly service for a minimum of one year? Take the first step in becoming involved by completing our volunteer application.
We can’t wait to meet you!
The Outcomes of CASA
Children in foster care are more likely to achieve permanency if they are assigned a CASA volunteer. Subsequently, they are more likely to have a consistent adult presence, do better in school, and receive other necessary services.
What People Say About CASA
I was a young woman with a rough, abusive background – no help, no support, and all the odds stacked against me. I got pregnant at 16 and had dropped out of school. By the time I was 20 I was a single mom and could not care for my two children. I could not afford to feed them, so I gave them to my grandmother in Brooklyn, but she was soon evicted from her apartment. After that, my two children were placed in foster care. When I first met EAC Network in court, I had no smiles, only tears. Both mine and my children’s attorneys were treating me like ‘just another file.’ Negative feedback only made me withdraw further into myself. There seemed to be no turning this around; I was going to lose my two children forever. EAC Network’s CASA advocate started spending time with me. All I needed was someone who took the time to care: a helping hand, and an encouraging word, which I seldom heard. I needed someone to believe that I had some kind, any kind, of potential. CASA worked with the social worker assigned to my children and enrolled me in individual therapy and parenting classes in preparation for dealing properly with behavioral issues once my children could return. I also enrolled in Suburban Technical School where I kept a B+ average and graduated as a medical assistant with placement in a hospital. I plan on continuing school to obtain my LPN so I can build a stable future for my family. The judge relied on the CASA advocate to be her eyes and ears, to come forward with the correct information regarding my children, me, and the foster parents, to make sure that adequate resources were made available, and that the orders placed by the court were acted upon. CASA lent a helping hand to me, and I grabbed it and held on for life!