The Cowlitz County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Program is tasked with being the voice of abused and neglected children in the dependency court system. Every dependent child in Cowlitz County is assigned a CASA through their program. They serve as a key component in the ongoing high success rates of the County's family reunification efforts.
A CASA is a trained volunteer who represents the best interests of children as they are taken through the legal process.
These trained volunteers:
- Investigate the case and inform the court
- Help identify resources to address a child's special needs
- Recommend temporary and permanent plans for the child
- The process focuses on the best interests of the child.
Process Designed To Move Quickly
The court orders the appointment of CASA and the we attempt to quickly assign the case to an available volunteer. If a volunteer is not available, Volunteer Supervisors are assigned the case. However, volunteers always have more time to work the case more effectively than staff. Therefore, we are always seeking to add to our volunteer base to help us serve the children in the dependency system (approx. 250).
CASA’s conduct an independent investigation throughout their assignment to the case. They will talk with the child, parents, family members, social worker, school personnel, health care providers, foster parents and others who know about the child's situation. In addition, the CASA reviews relevant documentation and prepares periodic reports to the court as to findings and recommendations for the child’s best interest.
The dependency system is difficult to navigate for all involved, especially the children. Social workers, attorneys, medical and mental health providers, foster parents, and teachers will change for the child throughout the life of the case. However, the CASA assignment continues until the child is placed in safe and stable family and the case is dismissed.
CASA volunteers are screened, trained and supervised. They are equipped with a detailed training manual and must complete 30 hours of training before receiving a case. Volunteers also participate in ongoing training, study groups, recognition events, book clubs, and conferences to keep their skills sharp and comply with the 12 hour per year continuing training requirement.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer with their program, contact them directly at:
Longview, WA 98632
Phone: (360) 414-5212
Fax: (360) 425-6369